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Discussion > When is weather not climate?

Among the numerous irritations of the warmista camp is the shrilly repeated mantra that weather is not climate. Thus, though I admit they are struggling a bit after three in a row, the cold winters since 2010 are complacently dismissed as 'weather' and, as such, have no impact on the anticipated warming which, whether being mysteriously deflected into the oceans or merely biding its time in some other unspecified fashion, will inevitably return with devastating consequences, etc, etc, etc.

At the same time, any – and the word is worth stressing – manifestation of unusual warmth, however temporary and, on average, er . . . average – is instantly seized on as inescapable evidence of global warming.

The summer of 2003 remains the prime example. I well remember, too, the unusually hot April of 2004, an apparent precursor of such sweltering heat that it would be more than elderly folk in France who would be its next victims. The line being, look, you know what it was like last August. And it's only April now! What do you suppose June/July/August will be like?

Cue SHOCK! HORROR! CALAMITY! As it turned out, the summer proper, at least in western Europe, was one of soggy, miserable, rain-soaked gloom. In the face of which, the warmistas remained wholly silent.

Ditto the floods in Australia in 2011, over which an identical veil of silence descended in the warmista camp. Compare and contrast to the perfectly normal Australian summer of 2012–13, instantly dubbed, absurdly, the 'angry summer'.

These are a handful of examples among many. The point remains, however. That when it suits, weather is climate.

It is such transparent double-standards, such laughable clutching at straws, scarcely worthy of an even moderately cunning nine-year-old, that in itself seems more than enough to make the typical warmist line an obvious nonsense.

It's hot if I say it is. And if it isn't, well it still is.

Do me a buggering favour.

Thoughts anyone?

Jun 20, 2013 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

The "weather is not climate" mantra is most annoying, isn't it? But if we accept the WMO definition of climate as (paraphrasing) the average of weather over a 30-year period (which is the definition used by the IPCC too) then it seems particularly perverse of the warmistas to parrot the "weather is not climate" line as if the two things have nothing whatsoever to do with each other: whatever weather we're getting right now is eventually going to feed into what they call "climate".

There's also been a strong tendency in the media lately to label any sort of weather as "extreme" even when it's something perfectly normal, such as snow in the winter in the UK. And don't get me started on that ridiculously overused term "unprecedented" ...

Jun 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

To be able to distinguish between weather (short term variations) and climate (slow, long term variations) implies you have a statistical model for both. So far as I can see, neither exists.

In the early days of large scale datacommunication, it was assumed that data traffic had a randomly fluctuating component, but with constant (more or less) long term statistical properties. It very slowly dawned that things fluctuate randomly no matter what time scale you take.

My belief is that weather/climate/long term climate all fluctuate randomly on timescales from hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, ..., periods of 100,000 years +. It's all fractal-like no matter how long a timescale you take.

Saying that it's either weather or climate and the two are different is just a meaningless "climate-science"/warmist slogan so far as I can see,

Jun 20, 2013 at 8:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Of course warmists want every bit of bad weather to be climate change.

Every time you see and article 'Climate Change wiped out the....' you can bet the following words describe a cooling event, not one of warming but despite that, the final words will weave the events into a cautionary take for CO2 induced climate change. Partly this is because very few people realise the Day After Tomorrow scenario has been dismissed.

Most people also don't realise that climate is the output of statistical calculation which is why they might dismiss Robert G. Brown (rgbatduke) as being unqualified to decry climate models because 'he's not a climate scientist!' It's past time the statistical societies took an interest in the dodgy goings on in climate science. A bit of bitch slapping is well overdue.

Jun 21, 2013 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Turning Tide
The 30-year requirement is at best a red herring and at worst a con.
Climate can be approached in two ways. Either it is constantly changing or it is constant.
I take the view that we have been bullied by the "climate change" mantra into a stance where we say that the climate is always changing and that we are wrong.
(This is all personal opinion, you understand. Feel free to shoot me down.)
Let us divide the earth into five climatic zones: Arctic, Sub-arctic, Temperate, Sub-tropical, Tropical. Every so often there is a major upheaval caused by a variety of (mostly extra-terrestrial) events which brings on an Ice Age. During the inter-glacials those five zones remain very largely constant with temperatures and weather phenomena characteristic of each zone confined very largely to its zone though obviously there is no hard and fast dividing line.
As weather patterns vary through warmer and colder periods some of those phenomena may stray into neighbouring zones but that is not "climate change"; it is simply natural variation.
Scare stories about butterflies moving north (why that should be scary I don't know) because of "global warming" are just that — scare stories. They are almost certainly expanding their range as local or regional weather conditions (which admittedly we tend to refer to as "climate") become more benign. In a few years some of them will be moving south again (starting last winter if they've got any sense!).
The argument that climate = 30 years of weather is patently absurd. Which 30 years and am I allowed to choose? 1940-1970? 1910-1940? 1975-2005? 1618-1648 (30 Years War!)?
Perhaps a rolling 30 years. So the climate in 2015 will be the average of 1985-2014. You reckon? And if it isn't, what then? Supposing the temperature of the earth turns out to be half-a-degree lower (or higher) than the average for those 30 years. What would that actually mean?
I may well be in a small minority here but I've been around for 70 years and I reckon I've seen or read about most things weather-wise. And I've not seen anything that suggests to me that the Temperate Zone is becoming sub-tropical or that the Sub-Arctic is becoming temperate. A few heatwaves, a couple of bad floods, even a run of cold winters is not a change of climate; it's just weather doing what it does.

Jun 21, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson