Environment

It's Cold Outside, But Bill Nye Breaks Down Why Climate Change is Still Real

January 27th 2015

By:
ATTN: Staff

With winter storms hitting different regions of the United States, you might be hearing the old mantra from climate change denialists that says cold weather debunks the notion of climate change. "Hey, if there's global warming, why am I so cold right now?" this argument says.

Let's remind them of this Neil Degrasse Tyson video, where he explains the difference between weather and climate change:

Weather is what the atmosphere does in the short-term, hour-to-hour, day-to-day...Climate is the long-term average of the weather over a number of years. It's shaped by global forces that alter the energy balance in the atmosphere....a change in any of them affects the climate in ways that are broadly predictable.

Last year's winter was particularly harsh in the northeast and the Midwest of the United States. It felt like a neverending winter.

No matter -- 2014 was still the hottest year on record. Global averages for land and sea temperatures were nearly a degree-and-a-half higher than the 20th century average of 57 degrees Fahrenheit. This comes after the decade of 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record. Of course, there were cold days on certain parts of the planet over this stretch, but what's important is the average.

For more on last year's weather, watch this video:

 
The fact that we have so much data on weather is what supports scientists' conclusion that we're experiencing man-made climate change. As Bill Nye points out in the video below, you don't need to be a practicing climate scientist to interpret this data. This goes against another canard often thrown out by climate denialists: "I'm not a scientist. I'm not qualified to judge whether climate change is real." 
 
Because we have so much data, Bill Nye, as a mechanical engineer is more than qualified to grapple this question. And, as someone whose brain has functional frontal lobes, you're qualified, too: