Record snowstorms have struck the Mid-Atlantic this winter and record cold has struck Florida and the southeast. Some say it's the start of global cooling; others see it as a sign of global warming. I say, they are both wrong!
And, if you want more fodder to chew on, check out the - latest Time magazine article to see how weather information can be used to incorrectly arrive at climate change conclusions. You can read most liberal news reports or listen to most conservative radio talk show hosts.
Then consider the following:
If you think that the weather is now cooling, then you have to acknowledge that for the past 25 to 100 years that it has been warming.
And, if you think that these storms and other recent events are so extreme because of global warming, then how do you explain all of the records that still remain on the record books from decades past (some even back to the turn of the 19th century?
No, one can't have it both ways.
Rather, let's look at weather for what the most recent events (those mentioned above and others) - the day to day change in the condition of the atmosphere. For climate change, one has to look to scales of tens of thousand years and longer (really a lot longer). And, this period is far longer then most would acknowledge spans known human history or existence.
Even within a long-term climatic framework, one can find short period variations (e.g., the most recent "Little Ice Age" some 500 years ago). And superimposed on this variability, comes even shorter term variations and then short-term weather variability.
Thus, I think that the so-called 30-year "climate normals" used by NOAA to determine what average temperature and rainfall should be (and which is updated every 10 years on a running basis) should be referred to as "average" without any mention of climate. I think this short-term reference to climate is what has helped to muddy the climatic landscape. It also puts proponents on both sides of the climatic change fence to reference specific storm or extreme events as proof of their side's validity.