Studying, writing about, thinking about, even talking about climate change, you quickly run into the weather vs. climate discussion. The most important thing to remember is that weather is not climate. Just because it was 50-something degrees in New York City on Memorial Day weekend, doesn’t mean that we can declare victory on global warming.
There’s a reason why this discussion comes up so often, though: Weather and climate are complicated, connected systems. The animation above is the weather patterns twirling, shifting, making us hot or cold, our hair frizzy or limp, on just one day — May 22, 2013 — over the entire planet. The images come from NASA GOES-14 satellite, which monitors weather for NOAA. These gyrations happen day after day after day, and it’s only over long periods of time, as carbon builds up in the atmosphere, that real climate change happens.