Saturday, March 17, 2012

On Weather and Climate

Warming Here, Cooling There ...

Paul Yeager writes:

Reading any article based on statistics is a lesson in interpretation, and the latest global temperature statistics provide an opportunity for some differing opinions on the topic of the climate: While the United States had an exceptionally warm winter (fourth warmest) and global temperatures remained above average in February, global land areas were the coolest since 1994.

In other words, just as cold winter in the U.S. during the previous two years did not mean that it was cold globally, a warm U.S. winter this year didn't mean that it was warm globally. Determinations about global temperature trends need to be made based on global data, not the data in one part of the world.

The warmth in the U.S. in the winter (December through February) was exceptional, and it's a trend that has continued in earnest in March. However, the extreme cold affecting large portions of Europe from late January into February tempered the overall statistics, especially those for land surface temperatures.