Weather vs Climate — There is a Difference

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

For our scientifically challenged fellow-citizens, it may hard to understand, but simply experiencing a few record-setting Snow Storms, does NOT automatically disprove the theory of Global Warming (aka Climate Change).  Science doesn’t work that way.  Science takes evidence.  Science takes data.  Science takes experiments – and lots and lots of Measuring. … It takes measuring of those boring things, called Facts.

The theory of Climate Change, views weather events from a long-term perspective.   Climate varies from year to year. Decade to decade.

Climate is a generational phenomenon. (could be why the younger generation “gets it” — more so than the older.)

Weather, on the other hand, changes with the wind.  Weather is a daily event.  Weather is the background noise, upon which we plan our daily lives.

In other words, weather can change – a lot;  over the course of a week, or over a Season. … Weather can even swing wildly over the course of a day sometimes – just ask anyone caught without rain gear, when unexpected downburst rolls in.

Weather is volatile.  Weather is constantly changing.  Climate not so much.

The pace of change of the Climate, can be downright Glacial. … as slow as molasses, to borrow an old-timer phrase.

Climate changes slowly, subtly, over many, many years.  You may not even notice Climate has changed – unless you were dutifully taking those Measurements, which those crazy Scientists are renowned for.

Well those brainiacs at NASA and NOAA, besides just sending “humans to the moon”, and “building telescopes to explore the heavens” and “Tracking Hurricanes” — they know how do some more mundane tasks — like compile and analyze data.  Weather data to be precise.  Those good scientists have managed to ferret out the “Change in Climate” (occurring before our eyes) from the Decades of daily Weather measurements.  

Here is their stark picture of what “Climate Change” looks like, over a Decades-long time horizon:

Latest three month average temperature and precipitation anomalies for the United States. Image Credit: NOAA link

The bright Orange counties have seen their “average temperature” increase by 6 degrees F. over the course of 4 decades, through the 90’s.  The Blue Counties, actually saw their Climate’s temperatures go down.

SO Climate Change is NOT 1-directional. It can go down, in some places, while going up in others.  While the East Coast may be buried in record snow, this week — while the Ice Sheets and Glaciers in Antarctica continue to break up and melt, as they have for at least a Decade. The ancient Ice that has been part of Earth’s Climate system for millions of years, is quietly melting away, all within OUR lifetimes.  THAT is one disturbing “contrast and comparison”.

Some pesky facts: Arctic Ice Melt could cost 24 trillion by 2050 by Project Omelas Feb 06, 2010

This subtle distinction between Weather and Climate, had Bill Nye the Science Guy — quite “amped up” on the Rachel Maddow show last night. It was good to see, if you missed it. Scientists should get emotional sometimes. Afterall they are People too. Bill Nye On Rachel Maddow Show: Recent Snowstorms Don’t Disprove Climate Change (w Video) on HuffPost.

Here’s a quick summary of the geeky explanation about the difference between Climate and Weather:

What’s the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

02.01.05 – Nasa

The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.


What Climate Means

In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.

Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It’s really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.

When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.

For example, after looking at rain gauge data, lake and reservoir levels, and satellite data, scientists can tell if during a summer, an area was drier than average. If it continues to be drier than normal over the course of many summers, then it would likely indicate a change in the climate.

In addition to long-term climate change, there are shorter term climate variations. This so-called climate variability can be represented by periodic or intermittent changes related to El Niño, La Niña, volcanic eruptions, or other changes in the Earth system.…

So if all you care about is the “nightly weather report”, well yes, wrapping your brain around the concept of Climate Change – could be a stretch for you. Especially if the terms “Climate” and “Weather” are synonymous in your mind. (as they are for many Oldsters who skipped all those Science Electives, back in school).

So tell me again, why do the Scientifically-Challenged get to Challenge every Scientific Theory?  Where’s their long-term data?

They may be entitled to their own opinionsbut they shouldn’t be entitled to their own Facts!

Science doesn’t work that way — just ask Neil Armstrong, “How negotiable Facts are?”

Here are a few definitions of terms, which is always a good place to start a debate.



1. The state of the atmosphere at a given time and place, with respect to variables such as temperature, moisture, wind velocity, and barometric pressure.

2. a. Adverse or destructive atmospheric conditions, such as high winds or heavy rain: encountered weather five miles out to sea.

     b. The unpleasant or destructive effects of such atmospheric conditions: protected the house from the weather.

3. weathers: Changes of fortune: had known him in many weathers.

Phrasal Verb:

weather in

To experience or cause to experience weather conditions that prevent movement: The squadron is weathered in because of dense fog.




1. The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.

2. A region of the earth having particular meteorological conditions: lives in a cold climate.

3. A prevailing condition or set of attitudes in human affairs: a climate of unrest.


Well here’s another Climate-like analogy, from the political realm, which indicates how “things can change slowly over time” — BUT change for the worse, nonetheless.

This is a Concept that the Party of No can surely understand:

Bill Press: End the filibuster in Senate; it has led to minority rule


Until recent years, the filibuster was the exception, not the rule, designed to allow any senator to stop a vote on pending legislation by debating it as long as he wanted. There were only two conditions. The objecting senator had to continue speaking from the podium, without interruption, for the duration of the filibuster – or until 67 senators rose up to stop it: a move called cloture. And the Senate could conduct no other business while the filibuster was under way.


New rules made the filibuster easier to use, but more open to abuse.


And in 1975, the Senate voted to lower the required number of votes needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. Ever since then, use of the filibuster has grown steadily from an average once a year in the ’50s, to more than 55 a year in the ’90s. In 2007, the Republican minority invoked the filibuster 112 times, double the number called by Democrats when they were in the minority. In 2008, Republicans upped its use to 139 times.…

The Senate HAS drastically changed, over the last few decades. Many even say: “Our Senate system is Broken!” It seems, some long-term Trends, even the political ones, are NOT always good for the People!

The Senate has changed … So much so that Grid-lock is now “the normal Climate” of the Senate, whereas one time there’s was an atmosphere of “co-operation for the good of the Nation” … No longer.  Once things change drastically, like this, it can be very hard to reset them back, to their previous state. (the same dynamic holds for the Earth’s Climate — it will be hard to “reset” — if not impossible.)

Of late, the Climate in the Senate, has been decidedly Arctic, when once, those Cold spells were few and far between.  You might say the Senate has reached its own “Tipping Point”.  All on its own, without the help of those geeky Scientists, either.

Too bad too, because the scientific data keep rolling in, and the Earth’s Ice reserves keep melting away, whether Congress decides to listen to the Climate Scientists — or not!  Whether or not they decide to act as adults, and LEAD — for the sake of Future Generations? (Of course most of them ARE from that “couldn’t care less” generation – so what are you gonna do? … except maybe, “Vote Them Out!”)

So I ask again, WHY do the Scientifically-Challenged get to Challenge every Scientific Theory?  Where’s their long-term data, to back-up their “outrageous claims”?

They may be entitled to their own opinionsbut they shouldn’t be entitled to their own Facts!

Not when so many Future Generations are at stake. … And certainly, not on the Democrat’s Watch.

Watch now, as Opportunity melts away too, as per usual, in DC — where the pace of Change is Glacially slow too. Go figure.


Skip to comment form

    • jamess on February 11, 2010 at 22:42

    what a better world it would already be!

  1. has brought up insane geo-engineering techniques to drum up support for global poverty induced by the Bernie Madoff carbon ponzi scam bank.  The utter failure of this marketing horsemanure gone bad will set real enviornmental efforts back by a whole generation.

    No it is not even the science anymore, it is a Holy War between the green faithful and those waking up to the bullshit of the globalist parasites running the world.  I want a funeral for AGW, a stake drive through it’s vampire heart and then burnt just for good measure.

    • jamess on February 12, 2010 at 00:34

    on dkos

    • Joy B. on February 13, 2010 at 18:28

    spend enough time in one place these days to know how variable weather can be. I’d never lived anywhere more than 3 years before moving here 17 years ago. Started an organic veggie garden the first spring (which was the year of the Blizzard of the Century on March 13). To figure planting schedules and crops, one has to be sort of psychic, or at least pay attention to the psychics at the Farmer’s Almanac.

    My climate designation says it’s not safe to plant post-frost crops until May 10. And while early May is indeed “blackberry winter” predictably every year, I’ve never seen it freeze in May. We have had snow in April, though. And there have been years when it never froze past February. Some years it’s hot and dry, full-drought. Other years it rains an inch a day and nothing that needs sun and dry soil will live. So I plant a little of this, a little of that, and figure SOMETHING will make it through.

    This year we’ve had a total of more than 3 feet of snow (six inches last night). Two serious ice storms, still have ice from the pre-Christmas storm. 1995 was big snowy too. But we haven’t had a single digit night all season, and we used to get those fairly regularly. Overall, the trend is warming. A warming climate is an average – we still get four seasons.

  2. climate change

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