The Weather Channel is taking a crack at making sense out of the debate over climate change, global warming and their possible relationship to extreme weather events. Starting tonight (October 19) the six-part series called "Tipping Points" that explores six places where the climate has undergone dramatic changes.
The climate change issue has become incredibly polarizing in recent years as advocates on one side hand out dire warnings of ongoing changes in our weather patterns and apocalyptic predictions of what will happen if they continue. On the other hand, "climate change deniers" point to weather events such as early season blizzards in Colorado as proof that the earth is not getting warmer.
The conflicting opinions are at least partly a result of an apples-to-oranges comparison of "weather" and "climate". The joke among weather forecasters is that "climate is what you expect, weather is what you get." To a large extent this is true. In some areas we can measure significant changes in the weather over a period of a few hours. Climate changes are often measured in periods of thousands of years. Thus it is easy for anyone with an axe to grind to use weather and climate data to support practically any claim they wish.
That said, the Weather Channel series takes the position that even in climate issues there are places around the world where we can actually see that significant climate changes may be taking place at this very moment. There is certainly no shortage of dire predictions in the promotional video however, there is hope that the series will give viewers an even-handed examination of the issues and the complexities in weather and climate analysis that make short, satisfying answers so few and far between.