Pielke Jr. on Weather vs. Climate

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

While the debate over the East Coast "snowpocalypse" rages—does it disprove global warming, or is it a harbinger of things to come in a warmer world—policy guru Roger Pielke Jr. makes sense here:

What happens in the weather this week or next tells us absolutely nothing about the role of humans in influencing the climate system. It is unjustifiable to claim that a cold snap or heavy snow disproves or even casts doubts [on] predictions of long-term climate change. It is equally unjustifiable to say that a cold snap or heavy snow in any way offers empirical support for predictions of long-term climate change. This goes for all weather events.

Further, it is professionally irresponsible for scientists to claim that some observed weather is "consistent with" long-term predictions of climate change. Any and all weather fits this criteria. Similarly, any and all weather is also "consistent with" failing predictions of long-term climate change. The "consistent with" canard is purposely misleading. Knowledge of climate requires long-term records—on the time scale of a decade and longer.

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