Winter storm Stella is approaching fast and threatens to be a menace, with the potential of up to four inches of snowfall an hour and 60 mph winds. Blizzard warnings now affect eight states in the Northeast. Inevitably, with extreme cold weather comes the condescension of climate change skeptics.
But isolated examples of weather, like blizzards, aren’t what climate change is about. Weather is measured by the conditions of the atmosphere over a short time frame (often days), whereas climate change is measured by the average atmospheric conditions over an extended period of time (often years). NASA defines climate as “what you expect, like a very hot summer,” and weather as “what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.”
Furthermore, blizzards aren’t even exceptional in a world changed by global warming. Climate change isn’t going to create uniformly warmer days. In fact, it’s making weather more erratic and all types of atmospheric conditions more extreme.
There isn’t time to waste on this tomfoolery — the effects of climate change in 2017 alone will be devastating — we’ll lose 100 feet off of Alaska’s north coast and hundreds of species will be wiped off the face of the Earth, just for a start.
More problematic than haughty civilians on Twitter, though, is our global warming-denying president. If Stella does one positive thing, it’ll be forcing him to cancel his weekly golf vacation.Photos via Getty Images / Scott Olson