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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The year in weather?

The Guardian published a "year in review" for the environment. It looks like it might be a press release from an environmental group. In any case, it highlights record high and low temperatures, drought, floods, and the like.

Imagine if next year's review included this summary:

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most intense in history. A record-tying eight hurricanes reached Category 3 strength, with Hurricane Leslie hitting South Carolina as a Category 4, and three other hurricanes causing massive damage in Texas, Alabama, Florida, and the Yucutan Peninsula.

The report mentions hurricanes, but their damage was nothing like what I wrote. I don't think any hurricanes came ashore above Category 1. Is that notable? Who knows? The review doesn't talk about the way the environment was average or calmer.

What I fear is that this review is discussing weather, not climate, but it's trying to get people worried about climate. Every year, there are droughts and floods. There are record low temperatures and record high temperatures. There are ice storms, blizzards, early snowstorms, and late snowstorms. There's nothing notable about weather events, unless they're tied to climate. If you say they are: was the 2011 hurricane season tied to climate? Was it as tied to climate as the 2005 hurricane season?


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