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Climate change

Climate change. It’s not about global warming or global dimming or whatever.

What we think of as climate is a series of temporary means and medians over a period of time. Climate has been changing since the planet was old enough to have weather, it’s changing now, and it will continue to change.

The climate has always been in flux and always will be. The fact of climate change isn’t in any doubt. What is in doubt are the details. Is it warming? Is it cooling? Will one lead to the other? Do we have anything to do with it or not?

Those are a whole lot harder to figure out, and not things we definitively know the answers to. Weather and climate are incredibly complex and involuted systems that we can only model in very limited ways. Weather prediction as a science is pretty solid these days, so long as you’re not talking about more than two or three days ahead. Climates, however, change like tides, and we just don’t understand how.

Rainfall stops happening in one place, and starts happening in another. One place warms, and another cools. We have a sense about how everything hangs together, but predicting what the climate is doing is like predicting the outcome of the Superbowl two years in advance. We know most of the factors, but we can’t model things nearly well enough to figure out what the result will be any better than a wild-assed guess.

We can’t even figure out if what we’re doing is contributing to it or not. It’s possible that our efforts and industries are having little effect on the situation, or are moderating what might otherwise be more severe changes.

All we do know is that climate change is a permanent fact of life on Earth. Maybe one day we’ll be able to figure it out and even exert some intentional control over it – or maybe not.

One thing is certain: The climate continues to change (just as it did in our parents’ day, and our grandparents’ and so ad-infinitum) and while we don’t know how it is changing or why it is changing or what it is changing to, we’ll have to just deal with it as it comes.

Categories: Culture, Opinion, Science.

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