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Early-season snow doesn't mean global warming is cancelled

Tuesday, November 12th 2019, 3:23 pm - What's the difference between climate and the weather?

Early-season winter storms have brought record-breaking snow to parts of Canada and the U.S., with more bone-chilling temperatures on the way.

For some, the freezing temperatures don't align with recent headlines about our warming planet.

"Data shows that we are on our way to completing the warmest five-year period, since 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and now 2019 could become the warmest period registered," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Mario Picazo.

"On the other hand -- and although there are still 4 months left in the year -- experts anticipate that 2019 will be one of the five warmest years in history, with a very good chance of even climbing on to the podium as the warmest."

WHY DO WE HAVE EXTREME COLD SPELLS IF THE WORLD IS WARMING?

Global warming, or climate change, is based on the analysis of long-term patterns in the climate. Weather is indicative of the current conditions

"Weather is like your mood and climate is like your personality," explains Weather Network chief meteorologist Chris Scott.

"Climate is the average of all the weather events that happened over years and decades, including all those extremes. Weather is just what's going on right now."

THE PROBLEM WITH COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE

One reason it can be difficult to see the impacts of climate change is because we don't experience the climate. Instead, we experience the weather.

That doesn't mean extreme cold events will disappear.

"Climate change moves the goalposts in which weather plays," Scott says.

"So instead of seeing as many record lows as we did 30 or 40 years ago, we're now seeing more record highs, and we expect to see more in the future.

It doesn't mean we can't get big snowstorms."

Watch the video that leads this article for a more thorough explanation of the difference between weather and climate from The Weather Network's Cheif Meteorologist, Chris Scott.

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Thumbnail image courtesy: Getty.

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