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Weather and climate aren't the same thing

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

In "Blinded by Science" (Feb. 22), columnist George F. Will argues that climate change alarmists have established a religion of global warming that flourishes in the face of scientific evidence. The majority of his article revels in the recent travails of various political groups involved in the issue. While amusing, this has nothing to do with whether global warming exists.

He makes his case in the last two paragraphs: The planet has not been warming for 15 years, it may have been warm during the "Medieval Warm Period," and there was a "historic blizzard" this winter.

Mr. Will has confused short-term weather with long-term climate. There will always be weather and snowstorms. Our recent blizzard was weather and indicates nothing about long-term global warming. Come to think of it, despite the snow, it has been an abnormally warm winter in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Will references Phil Jones, former director of Britain's Climatic Research Unit, as saying there has been no statistically significant warming for 15 years. He does not mention the next words out of Mr. Jones' mouth: "This is a blip, rather than a long-term trend." In fact a few moments of Web searching will reveal many graphs of average global temperature; the line may bounce around (hence Mr. Jones' statement) but over the decades it rises steadily.

Again, this is the difference between weather and climate.

It may have been warmer in the past, but so what? The Earth was a molten ball of lava once. What does this have to do with whether we are causing the Earth to warm now by pumping billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere? Absolutely nothing.

A few minutes on Google reveals careful, scientifically supported refutations of every argument Mr. Will made.

Surely Mr. Will is aware of this. The real religion here is evident in Mr. Will's stubborn willful ignorance that compels him to spread his nonsense.

ERIC SWANSON
Associate Professor of Physics
University of Pittsburgh
Oakland

 

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