People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?
What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?
Alas, thanks to the staunch defence of AGW no matter what, it is about almost nothing. I have already written how very little there is to show for AGW (most if not all issues are firmly expected for sometimes in the future). And now, whatever AGW has become, it is turning into a ghost of itself in front of our very eyes, because of insurmountable problems of time (and space) .
The Time Dimension of AGW
World temperatures haven’t gone anywhere for at least a decade, hurricanes haven’t been battering like it’s 2005, and the Arctic sea ice cover hasn’t shrunk as in 2007. And yet in an apparent effort to insulate AGW theory from actual observation of the physical world, there is no shortage of people pontificating that the IPCC consensus is safe, because:
- whatever we observe in the here-and-now is “weather”
- the IPCC consensus is about “climate”
- “climate” is not “weather”
- “climate” is “weather” averaged over 30 years (who knows why, 30 and not 22 or 100?)
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.
The insulation of this vaporous average of a thing called “climate” from experienced “weather” events is near to perfect. For example, Leo Hickman and George Monbiot dismiss the significance of “single events” in the Guardian’s Environment blog:
weather […] believe it or not, it is not always predictable and it changes quite often. It is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends
Revkin goes as far as talking of weather and climate going in opposite directions:
In the last few days, a notable conjunction occurred when these two men [Hansen and Watts] essentially agreed on something: that the planet — despite a lot of very cold patches — is unusually warm.
But the reasoning goes both ways: the same distinction between “weather” and “climate” can be applied to every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales. Each melting glacier, each heatwave, each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice is “weather”.
And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” even if they cannot possibly be.
The Space Dimension of AGW
The “G” in AGW means “global”. AGW is meant to apply to the world as a whole. But “climate” heavily depends on local effects, says Wikipedia:
The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, altitude, ice or snow cover, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents
regional short‐term temperature fluctuations […] are an order of magnitude larger than global average annual anomalies
That is: “local climate” is “weather”, not “climate”. Hence, as explained by Luboš,
the global mean temperature is irrelevant for you and for everyone else, too. It didn’t help the hundreds of frozen people in India, the passengers whose flights were canceled, and millions of other people in the European, Asian, and American civilization centers
That’s not all: even assuming AGW is all fine and right, one should consider the result of “regional variations in radiative forcing“, as already mentioned years ago by Roger Pielke, Sr. :
regional diabatic heating due to human activities represents a major, but under-recognized climate forcing, on long-term global weather patterns. Indeed, this heterogenous climate forcing may be more important on the weather that we experience than changes in weather patterns associated with the more homogeneous spatial radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases
AGW: No Close-ups, Please!
If you try to look at it at too fine a temporal detail (a decade or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply. If you try to look at it at too fine a spatial detail (a couple of decades or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply.
That is, weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles.
Please somebody explain why should anybody still care about “the climate”…