“It’s Cold, Is There Climate Change?”

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As climate change has become politicized over the past number of years, we’ve seen people on both sides trying to point to specific climate events to say “Look, climate change” or “Look, it’s snowing, there must not be climate change”. So to begin, we’ll say “No, today does not prove or disprove climate change,”…”but the extreme weather events, and highl levels of winter precipitation illustrate a trend predicted by climate models.” It’s much less snappy, but far more accurate.

“But we are having record cold temperatures, how can there be global warming?”

It’s a question that gets asked often. Climate change is not about today or yesterday, but is focused on trends. When you look at the temperature today and see these record cold temperatures, you could also look at last week when it was in the mid-40s (it will also be in the upper 30s and lower 40s by the end of this week). If you look at the past 15 days, you’ll see an average temperature of roughly 26 degrees.

Last month, WMEAC put out the Grand Rapids Climate Resiliency Report that talked about climate change at a hyper local level. The climate models were centered around Grand Rapids and the modeling that was used showed that there will be many changes in the climate over the next 20-40 years. In that modeling, temperature was only one of the considerations.

Increased precipitation in Winter and Spring, hotter and drier summers, and warmer winters will all impact West Michigan.  If you look again at the last 15 days, you’ll see 6 of those 15 days had a change in temperature of 8 degrees or more with 4 of those days with changes over 10 degrees. However, to say the last 15 days prove climate change is real or happened because of climate change would be an inaccurate statement, but to say certain elements of the extreme weather West Michigan has experienced in last 15 days serve as an example of what the models project is coming over the next 20-40 years – that would be accurate.

So, no, today does not prove or disprove climate change. It does not help folks on either side of the issue to point to weather events to prove or disprove climate change.

0 replies
  1. Charles Hausmann
    Charles Hausmann says:

    All we know for sure is that there is a great financial incentive and political motivation for scientists and politicians to claim that climate change will be extreme and cataclismic. The models have all been inaccurate and grossly overstated the changes. Cooler heads will hopefully prevail before climate change fanatics destroy the economy.

    This weather has happened before in my lifetime and will likely happen again. Adaptation is part of nature.

    Reply
  2. David Marckini
    David Marckini says:

    I see the comment by Hausmann goes back to weather, althoujgh it’s clearly stated in the article that it’s NOT weather that we’re dealing with, but climate. Studies show clearly that we’ve never experienced climate like that currently present in the last decades (except maybe when the earth was first cooling after creation). The financial incentive for scientists is nil that’s why we can rely on them. The financial incentive for those in the carbon-based energy business (coal, petroleum) on the other hand is very clear. They don’t want to have to lose their profitable business just because it’s going to do great damage and kill people, so they make statements such as the one above.

    Reply

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