Thursday, February 08, 2007

The weather outside is frightful...

The past two weeks have brought frightfully cold weather to Minnesota. The past 14 days have been colder than normal. This morning was well below 0 degrees.

Last week brought about the UN climate change findings. With the cold weather here and amounts of snow elsewhere can be confusing. Global warming? where is it? With this weather it can't be happening! .... Some people have even commented that they would welcome a little global warming.

Well, there is a difference. What we are experiencing now is weather related. Weather is what happens on a day-to-day basis. While climate is long term. We should not confuse weather with climate!

What Weather Means

"Weather is basically the way the atmosphere is behaving, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities. The difference between weather and climate is that weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure, as in high and low pressure.

In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space. An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms. "

I found this image on arborday.org. It shows the changing climate between 1990-2006. I was surprised to learn that my zone has changed from zone 4 to zone 5! Click to see an animation which shows the drastic changes in climate.


How has your climate changed? This is happening. This is currently happening - not sometime in the future. It is happening now. How much will you do to cut your personal emissions?


In a few weeks I will be attending a local global warming conference and will have a Revive the Victory Garden table to share information about how people can change the impact of their food choices. On another note. I also created the posters for the conference. :)

20 comments:

Teri said...

We simply don't have historical records going back far enough to document this as an unusual climate change. For example, take a look at the Little Ice age here There are folks who say that we've gone through an unseasonably warm spell. I know that back in the early 1900s, the Columbia river used to freeze solid. We could just be going back to a more usual weather period. We just don't have the records for it. And I never trust computer models. Garbage in, garbage out.

Anonymous said...

We live in southern California (was Zone 9, now marginally Zone 10), so I can only imagine my years in Chicago and drop another 20 degree to get an image of what it must be like for you.

Just yesterday I received the bare-root 3-in-1 low chill apple tree I have been anxiously waiting for. We cut down our previous older apple tree that was not producing much edible fruit. I am so glad I found such a low chill variety that should comfortably produce even if our area turns into a solid Zone 10. As I am teaching myself about permaculture, this is one of the important factors I have to consider as I slowly redesign our suburban lot.

Richard

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

That map explains why central GA, which got snow when I was a kid, very rarely does anymore. Interesting. And sad.

Ric said...

Wait, so your argument is seriously "global warming can't be happening because it's cold where I live"? Seriously? You don't know much about those tiny things called science and logic do you?

Anonymous said...

Teri's comment (above) about lacking historical temperature data displays an appalling lack of knowledge. (She should at least find out a few basic facts before posting!) Scientists have many methods of reconstructing temperature and atmospheric data (CO2) levels going back hundreds of thousands of years. One common metnod involves glacial ice, which can be "read" like tree rings. Concentrations of dissolved gasses (such as CO2, oxygen, etc.) provide a readout on the composition of the atmosphere.

The simple fact that Teri and others seem unable to grasp is that well over 95% of all climate scientists around the world agree that global warming is real and that there is a better than 90% of the warming we are seeing is clearly attributable to human activity. Unfortunately, Exxon and others have enough cash to bankroll the few scientists willing to sell thier "opinion" to the highest bidder and conservative bloggers are doing their best to confuse the country. A very sad situation indeed...

Emme said...

Ric - tongue in cheek! Read: we should not confuse weather with climate. Weather is daily events and climate is long term change. The arbor day images show the long term (and scary) changes that have been occurring.

The end states "How has your climate changed? This is happening. This is currently happening - not sometime in the future. It is happening now. How much will you do to cut your personal emissions?" IfI did not believe that climate change was happening, I certainly would not be starting a campaign to stop global warming!

The Exxon scientists have done much to sell our population on the idea that climate change either is not happening or is naturally occurring.

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