Letters to the Editor

Weather versus climate

The author of a Jan. 23 letter said he is "cold and confused," and asks, "What happened to global warming?" In a recent editorial cartoon, a man was standing in waist-deep snow at his mailbox while reading an invitation to a conference on global warming. What do the letter and the cartoon have in common? They confuse weather with climate.

Weather is what happens on a day-to-day basis, while climate concerns a much longer time scale -- a decade, a century, a millennium. I'm not a scientist, but I can read and learn. The earth's climate is warming (no one can seriously deny that), and human activities are accelerating, if not entirely causing, this trend.

Climatologists tell us that as the climate warms, it will have varied effects on local weather patterns. Some areas will be warmer, some will be colder, some will have more precipitation, some less.

Can anything be done about climate change? Of course. Climatologists say that while it is late in the game, positive steps can and must be taken to ameliorate the effects of global warming.

Conrad Gaunt