22.1 C
Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Weather and climate: what’s the difference and does it really matter?

Latest News

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Other News

Plans to increase building heights in Byron CBD may be shelved

Byron Council’s controversial plan to increase building height limits on a block in the centre of Byron Bay looks set to be abandoned at this week’s planning meeting.

Echo turns 35 and You are invited!

This year The Echo turns 35, and to celebrate this momentous anniversary they are putting on The Echo Community Awards – and everyone is invited!

Ageism alive and well

Margaret Boshier, St Ives I have been spending time in the ocean since before I could walk; I grew up...

Linnaeus Estate DA raises concerns for residents

Community concern over the current development application (DA: 10.2021.170.1) for Linnaeus Estate in Broken Head has led to detailed analysis of the DA.

A hands up poll

Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page, Byron Bay Hands up everyone who wants another high-end tourist resort in Byron: a place...

Cringe worthy PM

Keith Duncan, Pimlico After cringing at the spectacle of Scott Morrison blatantly lying to President Biden during that virtual climate...

A comparison of Arctic ice minimum in 1984 and 2012 demonstrating the reduction in Arctic ice over time. Image assembled from NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen.

There are several letters supporting the recent student climate march in our letters stream this week. There is also a letter that denies climate change is taking place.

So here’s a quick guide to the difference between the weather and the climate – and it is this difference (distinction) that is key to understanding why and how climate change is taking place.

Weather v climate

Weather is the day-to-day changes in the atmosphere and includes extreme, unusual weather events.

Climate is the weather over a long period of time. A few single outlying weather events are just that – weather events.

Therefore, to determine if climate change is actually taking place we need to look at the overall change in weather patterns over time. It is looking at these weather patterns which makes it clear that the atmosphere ‘on average’ and ‘over time’ is changing.

So the fact that there were two extreme weather events in 1828 and 1896, as pointed out by our climate change denying letter writer, does not mean that climate change is not happening. It is the increase in average temperature in Australia (and around the world), particularly since 1950, which tells us that climate change is taking place.

This is also supported by a range of other science such as ice core analysis. The science is not saying that the climate hasn’t been hotter or colder than it is today – the science is telling us that the climate is changing and at a faster rate than it normally does.

Dinosaur death

Again it is not to say that there haven’t been extreme climate changes. Take for example the extinction of the dinosaur. One theory is that the dinosaurs died out as a result of the climate changing rapidly as a result of a meteor hitting the Earth. They died out because it happened so quickly that they couldn’t adapt to the change in the climate.

So back to today – the science is clear, the average global temperatures have been rising at a faster rate than they have in millennia, as far as scientists can determine. Which means, there is significantly less time for species to adapt to the changing climate.

The result is we’re in the middle of a mass extinction. That is, the rate at which species are becoming extinct is very rapid in terms of the Earth’s evolutionay history (the first forms of life started around 3.7 billion years ago).

Earth will continue

It is not that the Earth won’t continue as a result of climate change; it is that the Earth won’t continue to support humans and the species that exist today in the stable atmosphere that we have evolved to exist in.

We will experience a rapidly changing climate with more regular and extreme weather events and we will have to take action to reduce our impact that is changing the climate, adapt to this changed world, or become extinct ourselves.

Previous articleWeather and climate
Next articleCats

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality. 

Diverse and resilient

Andrya Hart, The Channon After statements and actions by some Rous councillors, I am left wondering how many refusals to accept the democratic vote at their...