I’ve winced over the last week as I’ve watched colleagues announce, in professional situations, “Well, so much for global warming! Do you know how cold it’s going to be tomorrow?”
They’re reacting, of course, to the strong cold front that has been active in the upper Midwest and East Coast of the United States. These prophets of instaclimate don’t seem to be aware that, at the same time as there’s been a cold front in some parts of the country, the Pacific Coast has had a strong heat wave. What would they suggest, that global warming doesn’t count in the East, but it’s stronger than ever in the West?
It’s uncomfortable to watch people exhibit such sloppy thinking in professional settings, forgetting that global warming is a global, not local, phenomenon, and failing to understand the difference between a day’s weather and changes in climate. Would these people suddenly believe in the reality of global warming again, if only they encountered a hot summer day where they live?
I’d love to send these people to meteorology school, but failing that, I’ll give them the reminder that December was one of the warmest Decembers on record, and 2008 was one of the top ten hottest years ever recorded.
One chilly week of fluxuating weather doesn’t undo the kind of trend that climatologists have been tracking for decades.