Feature

Weather isn’t the same as climate

Scientists have been warning for at least 20 years that the warming of the atmosphere will cause more extreme weather of all kinds, including, yes, more severe snowstorms, said Clarence Page in the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>.

Clarence PageChicago Tribune

Whenever there’s a bad snowstorm, said Clarence Page, climate-change deniers shout their standard refrain: Global warming doesn’t exist! It happened again last week, when twin blizzards pummeled much of the East Coast. The record-breaking snowfalls, Sean Hannity cheerfully declared on Fox News, “would seem to contradict Al Gore’s hysterical global-warming theories.” Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma touted pictures of his family building an igloo with a sign that read, “Al Gore’s new home.”

Sorry to spoil your fun, guys. But scientists have been warning for at least 20 years that the warming of the atmosphere will cause more extreme weather of all kinds, including, yes, more severe snowstorms. Warmer winter air collects more moisture, which turns into snow when it hits a cold front.

Now there’s nothing wrong with being skeptical about climate change; the public is entitled to ask questions and demand evidence. But one snowstorm or one hot spell proves nothing. Weather and climate are not the same thing, and “we owe it to our offspring” to know the difference.

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