The Difference Between Weather And Climate. Animated!
I accidentally landed on a “climate denial” web site a couple of days ago. Seems I misunderstood where a certain link was taking me. Well, like a driver who ends up in the wrong town, I decided to look around. According to information on the site, 2011 was the coldest year of the 2000s, proving that climate change/global warming is not real.
Now, I can’t speak to the validity of the “coldest year in the 2000s” statement. But, let’s pretend that it is true. That would mean that climate change is not happening. That the planet is not warming. Right?
Of course not. The mistake that many people make (whether out of ignorance or malice) is that they look at an event or a short term trend that goes against climate change models and say “Ha! See?!?” The “coldest year in the 2000s” argument is an example of such a mistake.
Again, let us pretend that 2011 was indeed the coldest year in the 2000s. First, you have to take into consideration that 2011 was a strong La Nina year. La Ninas “occur when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean are below normal” (Accuweather.com). They have a variety of effects, including lowering global average temperatures. What the good folks at “climate denial” site failed to mention to their readers was that 2011 was the warmest La Nina year on record, as well as the 11th warmest year overall, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The lesson to be learned is that climate change is not about what happens on one day, one month or even over the period of a year. It is about overall trends. That includes the trend that the world’s average temperature is increasing. Below is a short animated video that does a wonderful job of demonstrating the difference between short term changes (the weather) and a long term trend (the climate). Please, take a look.