- Frigid weather is hitting the Midwest and Northeast this week – extremely low temperatures plus wind chill that meteorologists have called “dangerous.”
- President Donald Trump tweeted about this cold weather, asking “What the hell is going on with Global Waming?”
- Weather and climate are different. Climate change is the scientific understanding that global temperatures are rising – it’s not defined by weather on a hot day or a cold day.
Frigid weather is hitting the midwest this week – extremely low temperatures plus wind chill that meteorologists have called “dangerous.“
President Donald Trump, as he has in the past, tweeted about this cold weather and asked, “What the hell is going on with Global Waming?”
“Please come back fast, we need you!” he said on Twitter, on Monday.
Trump has repeatedly parroted this refrain as a way to call climate change into question. However, the premise that cold weather means global warming doesn’t exist is flawed right from the start.
Weather and climate are different
As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains, “weather is the mix of events that happen each day in our atmosphere.” Weather can change by the hour; and it can be influenced by “air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction” and more.
“Whereas weather refers to short-term changes in the atmosphere, climate describes what the weather is like over a long period of time in a specific area,” NOAA’s website continues. Unlike weather, climates change over long periods of time. Weather on one day, doesn’t define overall climate. NOAA uses a helpful analogy: Weather tells you what clothing to wear on a specific day, climate tells you what kind of clothing you should have in your closet.
Scientists are warning that the climate is changing
Climate change is the scientific understanding that global temperatures are rising – it’s not defined by weather on a hot day or a cold day.
And according to NASA, climate change is “extremely likely (greater than 95 per cent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”
“The global climate continues to change rapidly compared to the pace of the natural variations in climate that have occurred throughout Earth’s history,” the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which was released after Thanksgiving of 2018, explains.
“Trends in globally averaged temperature, sea level rise, upper-ocean heat content, land-based ice melt, arctic sea ice, depth of seasonal permafrost thaw, and other climate variables provide consistent evidence of a warming planet.”
So, while climate and weather are two different concepts, the changing climate will have an impact weather. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, climate change is impacting “the frequency, duration, and/or magnitude of extreme weather events.”
Those weather events, according to the assessment, include tropical cyclones, extreme heat and cold, extreme precipitation, tornadoes and thunderstorms, and winter storms.
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