The Difference Between Weather and Climate

  • Posted on: 29 January 2019
  • By: David Trammel

(Picture from New York Times)

(Something of a short post this week, I'm getting over the flu...)

Like many of you, especially if you live in the American Midwest and Northeast, I'm seeing record breaking cold temperatures here in St Louis this week. Dangerously low temperatures. And with such Winter events, comes the people who who misunderstand the difference between climate and weather.

"In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!"
Donald Trump, tweeting from @realDonaldTrump

Perhaps our President might recognize that the two aren't the same.

Why Is the Cold Weather So Extreme if the Earth Is Warming?

"To use an analogy Mr. Trump might appreciate, weather is how much money you have in your pocket today, whereas climate is your net worth. A billionaire who has forgotten his wallet one day is not poor, anymore than a poor person who lands a windfall of several hundred dollars is suddenly rich. What matters is what happens over the long term."

Its all well and good to disagree with whether humans and our CO2 emissions are adversely effecting our global climate. I'll have that argument anytime. Its another thing to try and win your point by deflecting the argument with false equivalences. For the record, in 1950 the percentage of record heat and record cold was roughly 50/50. Today, record heat events happen twice as often as cold events. This rise in over all temperatures is destabilizing the Jet Stream around the Arctic pole. This is causing instability in the Winter Polar Vortex. This instability sometimes causes it to break apart and sections of it are then forced South, causing deep cold weather events. The average Winter temperature in the Arctic is -30F degrees. If global climate warming increases that even ten degrees, then Winter cold weather events will be a balmy -20F degrees not -30F.

Am I the only one to think that's still damned cold? It strikes me as the height of hypocrisy, to argue that climate change isn't happening just because its sometimes is still cold or snows. But then, bringing a snow ball on to the Senate floor gets you campaign donations, doesn't it Senator Ingohof? After all, you are rich off your time in government, your children won't suffer the consequences of your inaction on climate change.

That's for the rest of us. The rich never think it will affect them.

Sometimes I think Trump and other climate change denying politicians understands that climate change is a actual problem, but that they are having too much fun (and get their base stirred up for votes which keeps them elected) using a fake denial into baiting those who do honestly believe that humans are the cause to loud vocal outrage. It puts public attention where Trump wants it, on him. Trump comes off like a child who screams and breaks things to get the adults to look at him. I wish that he would care more about the rest of us than himself sometimes. After all, he's my president too. I didn't vote for him, but I came close to doing so in the last election. I, like millions of hard working Americans, want change but we want change we can believe in and that will benefit us, not meaningless posturings that only enrich the Elites like Trump. I would vote for him in 2020 if he did that.

I regret to say, I'm not hopeful of it happening.

We are on the cusp of a second French Revolution. When the peasants rise up and the 1% find themselves facing ropes and pitchforks. The lampposts await. As the old saying goes, "If you are not a part of the Solution, you are part of the Problem." Sometimes the problem is handled with extreme measures.

For now, Trump might want to take a look at these photos to see just where Global Warming went this Winter in America.

A January Heat Wave in Australia

Its over 110F degrees in Australia right now. You don't have to believe that humans and CO2 emissions are the cause of climate change but you should recognize something is causing global temperature averages to go up, and that situation is something we must prepare for. Visit the Green Wizards Forums to learn how to do that. We'll get back to discussing "Thinking in Systems" next week.

Stay safe out there if the very cold is in your neighborhood. Bundle up.