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A Cool U.S.—and Yet the Globe Warms

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Environment, climate change, climate science, global warming, denialists, skeptics, NOAA, National Climatic Data Center, Keith Goetzman,

If I’m wearing a jacket, is the earth really warming?

Most of the United States had a notably cool summer and fall, a phenomenon that plenty of climate-change skeptics have seized upon. “Nice global warming we’re having,” they’ve been saying for months as extraordinarily cool temperatures have prevailed. So it looks like it’s time for another enlightening discussion of the elemental difference between weather and climate—with infographics!

Let’s look at the most recent month, October. The National Climatic Data Center recently released a map of October’s global temperature anomalies in one of its State of the Climate reports. Blue dots show cooler-than-average temperatures; red dots show higher-than-average temps. The bigger the dot, the greater the departure from average. As you can see, the U.S. is an island of blue in a world that is virtually red:

Climate map

 

Also see maps from June, July, August, and September—as well as the combined June-August period—at the NCDC website. To varying degrees, they show the same thing: The United States has been one of the coolest places on the planet, relative to average, for months.

So the next time you hear a denialist—or just your well-meaning friend who’s clumsily trying to make small talk about the weather—attempt to link climate change and the current temperature outside your door, don’t just shake it off. Remind them that as usual, the big picture is what counts. And yes, it’s still getting warmer out there.

Source: National Climatic Data Center

Image courtesy of National Climatic Data Center.

san_1
12/9/2009 5:24:18 PM

Cathy, please do not poo poo something just because you think you're an expert by 'following' the climate situation. People should resort to common sense rather than what they 'think' they know - any scientist knows that nothing is totally provable except taxes and death. Common sense would dictate the following which is a simple summary: Because of global warming, or climate change, the polar ice caps are melting (that does not mean that the ice is warm, but that the melted ice is being distributed into the oceans) and because of that, the oceans are cooling down resulting in cooler weather. Now I don't know how long the cycle will be, but at some point, the cooling cycle will end and the effects of global warming will be felt by continued unpredictable patterns of weather, drought and flooding. Now skeptics, get off your high holy horses and look around you. Just don't stick your tongue out in the cold and come to the bright conclusion that global warming is not a reality. The problem is that human centric humans are reactive creatures and do not look below the surface of a problem to get to the root of it. They think it's hot out because their electric blankets are overheating their skin; or cold out because they have their heads in the refrigerator too long Actually this is typical of lower brain thinking. Try climbing up the ladder a bit


daltxguy
11/23/2009 6:17:49 PM

@Cathy. Don't leave us hanging. What exactly is pathetic about this article? I don't understand your comment.


cathy_1
11/23/2009 12:35:35 PM

I've been following the climate situation for more than thirty years as a science reporter, and I've never seen so much climate garbage published as truth by a gullible press as I have in the last ten years. This article is pathetic.