Does cold weather disprove global warming?

What The Science Says:
A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.

Climate Myth: It's freaking cold!
"Austria is today seeing its earliest snowfall in history with 30 to 40 centimetres already predicted in the mountains. Such dramatic falls in temperatures provide superficial evidence for those who doubt that the world is threatened by climate change." (Mail Online)

It's easy to confuse current weather events with long-term climate trends, and hard to understand the difference between weather and climate. It's a bit like being at the beach, trying to figure out if the tide is rising or falling just by watching individual waves roll in and out. The slow change of the tide is masked by the constant churning of the waves.

In a similar way, the normal ups and downs of weather make it hard to see slow changes in climate. To find climate trends you need to look at how weather is changing over a longer time span. Looking at high and low temperature data from recent decades shows that new record highs occur nearly twice as often as new record lows.

 

New records for cold weather will continue to be set, but global warming's gradual influence will make them increasingly rare.

Basic rebuttal written by Jim Meador


Update July 2015:

Here are related lecture-videos from Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial


 


Creative Commons License The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.