Weather Versus Climate

“Climate is the average of many, many weather events, and as you change the climate, as you change average conditions, you also change the weather events that make up climate” says Dr Benjamin Santer at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab 

Simply put, as we find in this humorous you tube demonstration, weather is what you see outside your window right now while the climate factors in other parts of the world impact those weather patterns we experience locally.  This is made clear in the research climatologist have developed showing the correlation between warmer temperatures that generates moisture over large bodies of water and how it’s transferred through jet streams to other locales around the globe.

This explains why we see abundant snow falls in the winter.  The notion by some that if global warming exists why are winters in some locales so serious?  The key point here is it exists only in certain locales.  While 2 feet of snow may fall on New England at the same time torrential down pours create deadly mudslides along the California coast both are the result of heavy precipitation generated through the warming of their adjacent oceans.  Concurrently the transfer of this moisture by natural wind currents deprives other regions around the planet of needed rainfall resulting in serious life-threatening droughts for more impoverished areas.

The underlying causation that climatologist have determined from their extensive research is that global warming effects climate which in turn impacts local weather patterns.  Global warming is a natural occurrence that has effected earth for millennium.    As the planet heats from excessive green house gases like CO2 built up in the atmosphere, the adverse effects results in a climate change that alters our fragile ecosystem forcing humans, animal and plant life to adapt to these changes.

The current problem with our hotter temperatures around the globe is that there is strong evidence from the climate science studies that show increased amounts of CO2  are the result of man’s use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.  The technology employed in these studies is varied and all conclude that higher rates of CO2 than earth is naturally accustomed to are entering our atmosphere more rapidly and have been since the advent of the Industrial Revolution some 250 years ago.  The CO2 signature of 12 isotopes found in this increased atmospheric CO2 is what we find in fossil fuel sources.

Thus, it appears we have altered the natural patterns of climate change by the introduction of spent energy from oil and coal.  There is mounting evidence that this anthropogenic (man-made) warming is a primary factor in the increased activity of violent weather like tornadoes, hurricanes, drought, flooding and yes, even heavy snow falls.  Dr. Santer concludes that we can “expect see more heat waves, more heavy down pours.  A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture.  We see in many individual indices behaviors [in weather patterns] that are entirely consistent with the change in the average climate of the planet.”    

So the next time someone challenges the notion of global warming based on what they are experiencing in their hometown ask them if they would draw the same conclusion that evidence of high crime rates in one country is indicative of high crime rates in every other country in the world.  The use of a KISS (keep it simple sweetheart) expression will suffice.  Weather is local and short term; climate is global and long term.