Lake Lover Blog

Information and Insights on Lake Michigan 

Let's Change the Climate Back...

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

— Charles Dudley Warner

This pithy quote has been around for over a century, and we still can't do anything about the weather. But we can try to change the climate back to what it was. (See sidebar below for the difference between weather and climate.)

This was on my mind this week as we were walloped by the polar vortex. It’s not clear that the bitter cold we experienced was tied to climate change trends, but it is clear that many extreme weather events across the globe are being precipitated by climate change. They are becoming more severe, more damaging and less predictable. And it's only going to get worse — unless we do something about it.

As individuals and as a society, we can become leaders in the fight to reverse climate change rather than remaining the biggest cause of it. I’ve been researching various ways we can take action, and thought I’d share these resources with you:

Although trying to make a difference can seem overwhelming, keep in mind the words of Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." 

Thanks for reading

What is the difference between weather and climate?

Weather reflects short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location.

We hear about weather and climate all of the time. Most of us check the local weather forecast to plan our days. And climate change is certainly a “hot” topic in the news. There is, however, still a lot of confusion over the difference between the two.

Think about it this way: Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

Weather is what you see outside on any particular day. So, for example, it may be 75° degrees and sunny or it could be 20° degrees with heavy snow. That’s the weather.

Climate is the average of that weather. For example, you can expect snow in the Northeast in January or for it to be hot and humid in the Southeast in July. This is climate. The climate record also includes extreme values such as record high temperatures or record amounts of rainfall. If you’ve ever heard your local weather person say “today we hit a record high for this day,” she is talking about climate records.

So when we are talking about climate change, we are talking about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space.

NOAA. What is the difference between weather and climate? National Ocean Service website, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/weather_climate.html