What’s the Difference between Climate and Weather?

When it’s hot, it’s climate.  When it’s cold, it’s weather. And when the weather gets warmer, that proves the climate is changing.  And it’s your fault.

"Honestly, I think this thread could be published as it stands in The Onion, and ..."

An Irish reader sends along a ..."
"I do so love these rites of spring, but I will spare your tender heart ..."

An Irish reader sends along a ..."
"Still, the young people will win."

An Irish reader sends along a ..."
"I do hope to spend more than a few extra decades in this life, you ..."

An Irish reader sends along a ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Marthe Lépine

    So “climate change” is going to join “population explosion” in the book of urban legends…

    • Pavel Chichikov

      No, it won’t.

      • It already is. But hey, don’t take your political failure too hard. Instead, change from engineering to science and use it.

        • Pavel Chichikov

          What political failure is that? I’m not in politics.

          • The political failure to change the behavior of human beings with limited and biased data release. After all, that’s what this panic over AGW is all about.

            • Pavel Chichikov

              I have no pretensions to changing anybody’s behavior, maybe not even my own.

              Again, why do you think there is no anthropogenic component? To continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere while trying to affect climate would be like driving down the freeway with the parking brake on.

              • I think there is no anthropogenic component because global climate change is also happening on Mars where there are no people; and also because the Earth is still significantly cooler than during the Cambrian era.

                The whole claim to there being an antropogenic component is an artifact of trying to use global climate change to affect human behavior; because if they admitted that we are powerless to stop or reverse the effect, then we might adapt instead in ways that are unacceptable.

                I’m not real sure why those ways are unacceptable however. Personally, I think harvesting energy from the atmosphere of a warmer earth and harvesting food out of the increase in atmospheric carbon is a good thing in and of itself- opportunity, not crisis.

                • Pavel Chichikov

                  Two different planets, different parameters and histories.

                  There were no coal fired power plants during the Cambrian.

                  The second paragraph seems to me to be a bit paranoid. I’ve spoken with climate scientists at NASA, and they didn’t seem at all sinister to me.

                  As for the third paragraph, we’re into unknown territory, and that includes the political territory.

                  Have you found that people can be depended on to behave rationally?

                  • “Two different planets, different parameters and histories.”

                    Correct, and since both are going through global climate change, could it possibly be that the cause is external to them both?

                    “There were no coal fired power plants during the Cambrian.”

                    Correct, but there was plenty of other life. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, and will cause greater disruption (already seeing this now that the tundra is melting).

                    “The second paragraph seems to me to be a bit paranoid. I’ve spoken with climate scientists at NASA, and they didn’t seem at all sinister to me.”

                    Nobody said they were sinister- I’m sure they’re well within their own biases.

                    “Have you found that people can be depended on to behave rationally?”

                    Usually not, and that’s why I’m against panic and for optimism.

                    • Pavel Chichikov

                      I just tried to reply and a ******* shoe ad got in my face.

                      Mars and Earth are too different in many ways to compare, unless you’ve got some scientific papers showing otherwise.

                      The people I spoke with seemed objective to me, unless you count disagreeing with you as a bias. They were an atmospheric physicist and an atmospheric chemist engaged in active research.

                    • I got Hyundai. Something’s wrong with the floating advert code.

                      I long ago came to the conclusion that being truly objective, means listening to people who disagree with you and examining THEIR data, rather than just your own.

                      One piece of data they’re not considering, is the possibility that increased atmospheric carbon follows warming rather than leading it (which of course, does lead to a positive feedback loop).

                    • Pavel Chichikov

                      I don’t follow the news that closely. It’s so obvious a consideration,though, that it would be surprising if it were not considered. I have a recollection of reading something about it, but it was some years ago.

                      What got me started on this thread is the news about oceanic acidification. A 30% increase is a bit of a shocker, no?

                    • That it was considered, is true- by dissenting scientists. The consideration was thrown out unexamined, however, and most of those scientists lost their jobs due to the political considerations ( if AGW isn’t A, then there is a problem with getting future grants seems to be the argument).

                      Ocean acidification is a serious problem, and is already affecting the coast in my state with several dead zones, but it isn’t insurmountable, and there are things we can do about it, from dumping our wastewater (!) into dead zones to encourage plankton blooms, to using the byproduct of things like wave buoys and even boat propellers to stir up the current and bring oxygen back into the system.

                      There are various other side effects- for instance, oysters will be less plentiful, while crabs and lobsters will be larger- but the oceans were once much more acidic than they are today, and they will be again.

                      Horseshoe crabs and sharks, on the other hand, can survive just about anything.

                    • Pavel Chichikov

                      Are you saying that atmospheric carbon loading does not cause warming?

                    • I am saying that it is equally possible that warming causes atmospheric carbon loading. The model works either way.

                      And in fact, it is more likely that the warming was caused by something else, which caused the environment to be less able to absorb our carbon output, which is now causing effects beyond the tipping point where increasing warming will result in increased atmospheric carbon and increased atmospheric carbon will result in increased warming until an increase in plant-based biomass can sort it out naturally in a few millenia.

  • bob

    Oh, wow, really? You’re a climate-change denier? I would not have expected this. Flat-earther, too? Did they fake that moon landing, Mark?

    • Alexander S Anderson

      Surely the excess CO2 we’re producing does *something* to the climate. But we really don’t have enough evidence to know exactly what. The hypothesis that the warming trend of c. 1975 to c. 2003 or so was primarily caused by it seems not to be supported by the evidence, since while the amount of CO2 has increased slightly, that warming trend has turned into a cooling trend in the last ten years.

    • chezami

      I am a climate change agnostic, for the very good reason that I am not competent in the sciences (like you) and am instead exposed only to media who manifest don’t know what they are talking about, as well as to people like you who consistently talk as though the question is not a matter of argument about facts, but a matter of heresy in religion. When you can restrain yourself from speaking of the matter as though I have blasphemed by failing to profess a creed and start speaking of the matter as though it is something to argue dispassionately you will help you case. Meantime, I have no stake in the matter one way or t’other. I take it as axiomatic that climate changes. What the climate is doing at present is beyond my ken. Also, why it is doing it. I’m a bear of very little brain.

      • Scott W.

        Exactly. I already have a narrative of Guilt and Redemption that is far more satisfying than anything a self-appointed St. Paul of the Recycling Bin can offer.

  • MarylandBill

    In fairness to Mark, he and I have butted heads on this issue before. He doesn’t deny that the climate is changing, but he is skeptical that the short term climate change we are seeing can really be attributed primarily to human action. His basic argument is that all the funding for climate research tends to go to scientists who support climate change, therefore the scientists who get to do the research are ones who are looking to find climate change.

    • Will

      Most of the scientists believe that there is human-caused climate change.

      • Or at least, the ones who get the grants do. NOBODY is paying for grants for skepticism.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    Oeans acidifying:


    Mark, you have no standing in this topic. All you have is prejudice, which is perhaps ideologically based. At least, you once told me that if climate change were correct it would strengthen proponents of population control.

    Whether it would or not has nothing to do factually with whether or not climate is changing, and how much is because of human input.

    Note, according to the scientists referenced to above, even it carbon emissions were to be reduced now, the oceans would continue to acidify.

    Do we know the effects of what we are doing? What is our reponsibility to the the people who presumably will come after us. What sort of population control will they be confronting?

    • Answer to acidifying oceans: Wave buoys Generates electricity, installation stirs up the thermocline to bring in oxygen, sea life takes care of the rest.

      • Pavel Chichikov

        Are you actively and scientifically involved in the problem? How much confidence do you have in the “fix?” Are there demonstrations underway? Are there cost estimates, resource estimates? Papers? Tenders?

        • 1. More just a volunteer observer and experimenter.
          2. Quite a bit, having observed the demonstration farm off of Newport Oregon.
          3. Tons, but it is not the purpose of a combobox to do research for you.

          • Pavel Chichikov

            Why the snark?

  • Have to disagree with you on this one Mark. Weather is instantaneous reading. climate is weighted average.

    I still don’t believe in the A of AGW, but it is hard to deny the change I’ve seen in my lifetime or in Mt. Hood’s glaciers.

    Having said that- the key isn’t to fight nature, but rather, to adapt to it. This is an opportunity, not a disaster.

    I’d love to see some solar-mirror liquid salt generators shielding Eastern Oregon rangeland….there isn’t just wind in those hills, there is SUN!

    • Pavel Chichikov

      Wave buoys are an adaptation to nature? How many would be necessary to prevent further acidification of the *oceans*?

      Why would they be an opportunity instead of a desperate expedient?

      Why do you disbelieve in the existence of human climate input?

      • “Wave buoys are an adaptation to nature?”

        Yes, in that they are an adaptation that enables us to harvest energy from a more chaotic environment.

        “How many would be necessary to prevent further acidification of the *oceans*?”

        Depends which side you are on for this debate. Enough to replace the use of fossil fuels in energy generation to “prevent” further acidification, but the intent isn’t to do so. The intent is to take dead zones that have already been acidified, and bring them back to life.

        “Why would they be an opportunity instead of a desperate expedient?”

        More chaotic weather (which is what climate change really brings) means more energetic waves, which gives us a form of free energy.

        In return, wave buoys provide an opportunity for rehabilitating dead zones and creating sea life habitat, directly.

        Think not just climatically (ok, pun intended) but also evolutionary.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I get so frustrated with this because it seems impossible to find information or research that isn’t colored by politics, one side wanting AGW to be proven so it can swoop in and rescue us with draconian changes (That somehow wont apply to them), the other side highlighting anything that might disprove it. We just had three blizzards in the past four weeks (and we desperately needed the water), but that’s normal for this area for my lifetime. We’ve always been much more likely to have a white Easter than a white Christmas–though we also all go as Eskimos for Halloween due to the chill.

    Working toward clean air, water and soil seems more logical and helpful than the argument about whether or not humans have caused or can change any major climate shifts in the works.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    Wave buoys or some other panacea are going nowhere without massive political support – hard to come by when the panacea is speculative.

    Adopting an aggressive attitude won’t help either.

    • Switching from a mode of political panic to a mode of adaptation fixes that problem. There are loads of other good reasons to adopt solutions such as wave energy that have nothing to do with climate.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    You want to affect the climate of the planet with wave buoys, just like that? Who the hell are you, anyway, a titan?

    Wanting to know your bona fides seems to me a reasonable query.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    There isn’t enough urgency,and perhaps it is too late anyway. I don’t see any panic.

  • Pavel Chichikov

    “But the changes from the crab apple to the pippin, from the wolf and
    fox to the house dog, from the charger of Henry V to the brewer’s
    draught horse and the racehorse, are real; for here Man has played the
    god, subduing Nature to his intention, and ennobling or debasing life
    for a set purpose. And what can be done with a wolf can be done with a

    George Bernard Shaw

    From: The Revolutionist’s Handbook