Weather Science

Our tepid Yuletide, by the numbers.

It’s easy, whenever there’s a seemingly radically different year or month’s worth of weather to start talking Climate Change. The truth is: climate and weather are very different things.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson had an interesting illustration of this in his Nova series. The whole episode is below for you to enjoy. But climate is like a man walking a dog, which is weather. The dog can bound from one side of it’s master to the other, sniffing back and forth, or higher and lower for the purposes of our discussion. But the master defines the range in which the dog can move.

Similarly, we can experience great shifts of temperature, year over year, without them affecting the overall climate. Even more importantly from the perspective of planet-wide climate: one region’s weather does not a climate make.

Still, this past December was extraordinary. It’s one thing to have a “Brown Christmas,” of which every Rochesterian is acquainted. It is quite another to experience 70 degree temps for Christmas!

So, here’s a quick summary of the muddy Christmas of 2015, so you can really tell your grandkids. Someday..

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