The Climate in Emergency

A weekly blog on science, news, and ideas related to climate change

Your Tuesday Update: Warm Holiday Wishes?

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It’s beginning to look a lot like the warmest Christmas on record. In my area, at least, the weather-people are predicting 70 degrees on Christmas Day. Reportedly, the whole eastern half of the US is in a similar position. Naturally, some experts are scrambling to explain that this is El Nino, not climate change. As usual, that’s disingenuous.

It’s true that this is El Nino. But it’s also global warming. Pretending there’s a difference is like standing on one of those mountaintop fire towers and arguing about whether the great view is due to the tower or to the mountain. It’s true that the tower lifts you up higher than the mountain can alone. It’s true that the tower and the mountain are distinct from each other. But the tower is still standing on top of the mountain.

This El Nino is unusually intense, possibly because its heat is added to a warmer overall climate. And last I heard, the experts still aren’t sure what the relationship between El Nino and climate change is–so there could be some kind of interaction between the two patterns.

Today is just a Tuesday Update, not a full post, so I’m not going into a lot of detail on this point, but please, can we stop presenting this as an either/or issue, please? This is global warming, no matter what else it is, because that’s what “global” means. It’s everywhere and all the time, whether we’re having an El Nino or one of the so-called “polar vortex” or whatever else, climate change is still happening.

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Author: Caroline Ailanthus

I am a creative science writer. That is, most of my writing is creative rather than technical, but my topic is usually science. I enjoy explaining things and exploring ideas. I have one published novel and another on the way. I have a master's degree in Conservation Biology and I work full-time as a writer.

One thought on “Your Tuesday Update: Warm Holiday Wishes?

  1. Pingback: Looking Back | The Climate Emergency

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