Climate v. Weather

As temperatures in the District of Columbia climb passed the 90-degree mark again today, it seems a fitting time to point out that the climate v. weather debate is heating up again too, fueled not only by this summer’s East Coast heatwave, but unprecedented flooding in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia stoked by usually hot, dry conditions there, and other extreme weather around the globe as this year shapes up to become the hottest on record.

Of course, these things taken individually don’t necessarily say much about climate change. Experts on both sides of the argument warn, “Don’t  confuse ‘weather’ with ‘climate,'” though I notice that this advice is seldom heeded here in the District.

Only last winter, after our first blizzard in decades, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe’s family built an igloo and dedicated it to climate crusader Al Gore, declaring the record snowfall a sign that global warming really is a hoax. Now, different folks are speculating that our current heat wave means climate change is for real, a view only bolstered last week when an iceberg more than four times the size of Manhattan broke off a Greenland glacier and floated away.

With all this fighting over the weather, it seems noteworthy that the calving of the iceberg is seen by experts as a surer indication of rising global temperatures. But that view may be changing (or perhaps it’s not the view that’s changing so much as scientists’ willingness to publicly wade into the debate.)  Here are a few news stories quoting scientists about the possible links between individual weather events and global warming.

ClimateCentral says: “Scientist Explores Links Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change”

The New York Times reports “In Weather Chaos, a Case for Global Warming”

The Guardian reports: “Climate Scientists in Race To Predict Where Natural Disaster Will Strike Next”


About greendistrict

I'm Christine MacDonald, a journalist and the author of the book: "Green, Inc., An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone B

Posted on August 16, 2010, in Carbon footprint, Climate Change, Climate Deniers, DC, DC green, Environment, environmental justice, Global Warming, Green Living, health, lifestyle, National Politics, sustainability, Washington, World. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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