Is It Weather Or Is It Climate?

Watching the national news (specifically ABC News), one would think we're in the midst of a string of record breaking summers, with hot and humid temperatures across most of the US. They've attributed it to global warming all while ignoring a number of cyclical weather patterns (El Niño and La Niña) that are far more likely to be the cause of this summer's weather. We here in New England have managed to avoid much of what the rest of the nation has been dealing with (it's been warm but with mostly low humidity), but that doesn't mean we haven't noticed what's been going on. We've seen the reports from all over the nation about the never ending heat waves. But we've also been hearing about the Southern Hemisphere, which has been dealing with record cold temperatures.

This summer's weather has caused a bit of amnesia about the previous two summers, where the weather was mostly cooler and wetter than normal. During those summers, here in the northeast we didn't really experience summer weather until August. June and July were cold and very wet, seriously affecting the farm industry and the tourist trade. On the farms crops ran late and some were drowned out altogether. And who wants to go to the beach or go hiking or boating or hit the tourist spots when it's in the 60's, cloudy, and damp?

If we have a string of summers like the one we've been experiencing this year, then we might be able to attribute it to global warming. But if it's just this summer, and the following summers are 'normal' then wouldn't we have to say it was just weather and not climate? If you're like most folks, I'd say the answer would be yes. But knowing the It's-All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans global warming folks they will ignore the normal summer pattern and focus intently on this summer as proof of AGW. Never mind there's been a decade long cooling trend.

And then of course, there's this. But let's not let facts get in the way of our opinions, right?