Does climate results in weather?


After reading the article about our cold winter and cool spring I was interested in the dossier the Flemish green party prepared about this. It is called “Climate disruption: long winter, bad spring” and subtitle “The link between climate disruption, long winters and more precipitation”. There was a very short introduction of five sentences. One sentence in particular raised my eyebrows.

Let’s start with the first three (translated from Dutch):

Climate and weather are clearly two different things. The link between the two is yet equally clear. A change in climate has a change in weather patterns as a result.

Basically the author(s) first said that climate and weather are different things (without explaining what the difference is), then go on that there is a link between those two. In a way that is true, but then the third sentence got me scratching my head. As far as I know, climate is the average of weather patterns over a longer time frame. Climate is averaged weather, but weather is not climate. When weather patterns change, then the average over a longer time frame (=climate) will obviously change too. They seem to have it backwards. Changing weather patterns result in a changing climate over time, not the other way around!

This could be an honest mistake or just an awkward way of putting it. But I have seen such statements several times before and mostly in a political context. I started to wonder why this could be and what would be the consequence of mixing up the relation between the two, politically speaking.

Back to the dossier. The next sentence:

In recent months we experienced unexpected weather, with a winter that lasted a long time and a spring that did not start.

Unexpected for who? Sure, from the standpoint of global warming theory, winters would get softer and springs earlier. For those who adhere that theory, this kind of weather is clearly unexpected. But that doesn’t mean that everybody was equally surprised by this weather.

That weather is the result of many factors, but a whole array of scientists point out that climate change, global warming, has something to do with it.

To be fair, they called it weather (a winter and a spring would not be much of a trend anyway). In this dossier this was the introduction to several quotes of scientists and a weatherman that supported the claim. More about this in a later post.

In general, I was surprised how many buzz words were used. Normally, such texts use only one (say “global warming”) and then stick with it until the end, but this time they seem to have used the whole lot. The title and subtitle mention “climate disruption” and already in the fifth sentence they used “climate change” and “global warming”. It took only eight sentences to use them all!


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