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Letter: Don’t confuse weather with region’s climate

Don’t confuse weather with region’s climate

In a May 11 letter, a writer sought to justify her position about the effectiveness of elected Democrats in state government by arguing that, among other things, climate change “is the biggest hoax ever foisted upon the American public.”

The writer is clearly conflating the idea of “weather” with “climate.” “Weather” is referring to the atmospheric conditions on a particular day, or even over the course of a season or two. “Climate,” as I taught my fifth-graders, is the average of these conditions over a long period of time.

The fact that we had snow on the ground in April this year is not an effective argument against climate change (and I suspect the writer is really thinking of an outdated term, “global warming”), nor is an extremely cold winter four years ago. We look at the patterns of weather to see evidence of climate change. I urge the writer to research the polar ice caps or the glaciers in Alaska for evidence that climate change is underway.

And I cannot believe that a literate adult would make a statement about being “in favor” of climate change if it meant milder winters locally. Does the writer not realize how all ecological factors are connected and in play? “Milder winters” could wreak havoc on our agricultural business, as well as our Great Lakes shorelines, among other concerns. It is not a matter of being “in favor” or not. Climate change involves some real consequences to our environment, which most certainly will impact the way we live our lives, far beyond having “milder winters” with less show shoveling.

Ruth Hasseler

Hamburg

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