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Posted: January 04, 2018

Weather vs. climate: Why a cold winter doesn't refute climate change

What Is A Nor'easter?

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Weather vs. climate: Why a cold winter doesn't refute climate change
Chelse Volgyes clears snow from her car in Erie, Pa., Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills socked much of the northern United States on Wednesday, and the snow-hardened city of Erie, dug out from a record snowfall. (Jack Hanrahan/Erie Times-News via AP)

By Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Call it fortuitous timing. Hours before U.S. President Donald Trump issued a tweet last week panning climate change, a University of Georgia climatologist offered a lengthy pre-emptive explanation.

>> ‘Bombogenesis': What is it and why is everyone saying it?

“What we are seeing right now in the United States is just … well … wait for it … winter,” wrote Marshall Shepherd, director of the atmospheric science program at the University of Georgia and a former president of the American Meteorological Society.

>> What is a Nor’easter and how does it form?

Shepherd wrote that he would urge people to keep in mind that “weather is mood, climate is personality” and that weekly weather patterns say little about longer-term climate change.

>> Trump tweets ‘good old Global Warming’ could help with frigid temps

It came about 12 hours before Trump tweeted that forecasts were calling for record cold New Year’s Eve temperatures.

>> See the tweet here

Shepherd wrote that even as climate warms, the seasons will always change to winter and yield frigid weather, snowstorms and blizzards. After all, he said, winter is related to how the Earth is tilted on its axis as it revolves around the sun.

>> Read more trending news 

Concludes Shepherd: "For now, the message for this week and the next seven days is that winter is reminding us that it still exists and always will even as our climate warms. Prepare accordingly, stay warm and help others."


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