Connecting the recent cold snap to climate change

NOW: Connecting the recent cold snap to climate change

Every time there's cold weather, especially well below normal temperatures, I often get a sarcastic reply of " climate change " or " global warming ". This week, I got an email from a viewer, that had some skepticism, but I found it to be a good question, and teaching moment about weather and climate. 

Tom,Glad to hear it is finally going to warm up after a week of cool, wet weather. I find it interesting that when we had the above average weather early in April or when it’s above average any other time in the fall you referred to it as “ more evidence of climate change”. However, you never once made that reference this past week or when we have been down below average on Memorial Day. Is it only “climate change” when we have warmer weather than normal? I agree with climate change. It’s almost every day in Northern Indiana.

Highs April 3 to May 3

Both the near-record warmth in mid-April, and near-record chill to end April were weather events. The days were warm or cold, rainy, snowy or dry, that is weather. But all that WEATHER, makes up our climate record. Each day is a data point in a much larger data set. 

Average Temperature Ranking in South Bend through May 3, 2023

Even with a terribly cold start to May, it doesn't offset all the mild days we've had to-date. This year, 2023 is still in the top 5, for the warmest first half of the year, to-date. Climate change continues to correctly predict there will be more occurrences of above average temperatures than below average. There will still be hot day and cold days, that's weather, but we should expect more of those hotter days, that's climate, and it's changing, quickly. 

And for the record, I did put into context the colder than normal temperatures to start May. 

I appreciate the email, there are no dumb questions. They often lead to interesting content for me to share.
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