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Weather v climate: how to make sense of an unusual cold snap while the world is hotter than ever

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The UK Met Office's announcement of 2023 as the hottest year on record, with average global temperatures 1.46°C above pre-industrial levels, contrasts sharply with recent extreme weather patterns 
Shortly after, the UK experienced a cold Arctic blast, followed by record warm temperatures, then another cold snap, illustrating the complex relationship between weather events and broader climate trends

🔭 The context: Weather and climate operate on vastly different timescales, which can lead to public confusion 
While weather changes can be felt on a daily basis, climate change is observed through long-term trends and patterns 
This distinction is crucial for understanding the impacts of global warming, despite the occurrence of short-term cold events

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The recent weather extremes in the UK and elsewhere highlight the ongoing effects of climate change, even as they underscore the natural variability of weather 
Climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, making the distinction between weather and climate more important than ever for public awareness and policy action

⏭️ What's next: Understanding and communicating the differences between weather and climate is vital for addressing climate change 
While individual weather events can be dramatic and newsworthy, it's the long-term climate trends that will have the most profound impact on the planet and require sustained attention and action

📈 One stat: Average global temperatures in 2023 were 1.46°C above pre-industrial levels, marking it as the hottest year on record

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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