If the Earth Is Warming, Why Is It So Cold Outside?
As climate change heats up the planet, winters are warming faster than summers. But on days when the temperature tumbles below freezing, it leaves many people wondering, “If the Earth is getting warmer, how can winter still be so cold?”
A frigid morning in Chicago. Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune, via Associated Press
President Trump is among them, and he weighs in frequently. He tweeted this on Jan. 28:
"In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!"
The answer lies in the difference between local weather and climate.
Climate refers to how the atmosphere acts over a long period of time, while weather describes what’s happening on a much shorter time scale. The climate can be thought of, in a way, as the sum of long periods of weather. [weiter]