Some skeptics view climate science as a house of cards. You pull one card from the bottom and the whole thing collapses. But science is more like a jigsaw puzzle, assembled piece by piece over decades of research. Gradually, the overall picture emerges, until it's unmistakable. Remaining gaps or even a few misplaced pieces don't change the overall picture.
If the Arctic is warming, why was the winter of 2010 so cold?The so-called Warm Arctic-Cold Continent Pattern is "kind of like leaving the refrigerator door ajar — the refrigerator warms up, but all the cold air spills out into the house." Variation: As the Arctic warms, so the northern continents at higher latitudes experience cold winters with heavy snow falls. It's rather like the fridge door being left open: warm air goes in at the top as cold air falls out into the room.
When you first arrive at the beach can you tell whether the tide is going in or out? No, not quickly: it would perhaps take you fifteen minutes of wave-watching before you could say for certain. And who's to say that a sudden big wave wasn't caused by a passing ship? It takes time to see the trend.Now let's adopt the scientist's method for determining the tide. This time bring a group of friends to the beach and position them 50 metres apart. When a wave lands, each person notes whether it reached further than the previous waves. If it does, that person shouts out , "a record!". So at first everyone is shouting out 'a record' very frequently—because the sample is so small. However, after 30 seconds or so the frequency will drop. Then after a few minutes the frequency of shouts will either noticeably decrease until they stop altogether (the tide is going out), or they will settle into a steady rhythm (the tide is coming in). Note that the more friends you take with you, the faster you'll arrive at an answer.
Many Earth systems behave like rubber bands, by not reversing smoothly down the same path that they were stretched along. This means that many changes brought about by global warming, such as sea-level rise and drought, will persist for some time even if we manage to reduce atmospheric CO2.
‘Weather is what you see outside your window, climate is what you see from a satellite.’ – Scott Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College, New York.
"Weather is your mood and climate is your personality." — Dr. Marshall Shepherd, President of the American Meteorological Society
The basic science of climate change is more than 150 years old. Back in 1859, Irish physicist John Tyndall predicted that winters would warm faster than summers, and nights faster than days. Now we see it borne out.
'Scientists say, when it comes to climate change, we need to manage what is unavoidable and avoid what is unmanageable.' — Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist
“It’s a bit like asking us to believe in Santa Claus after we have seen our parents putting the presents under the tree.” – Naomi Oreskes, Professor of Science History at the University of Califormia (San Diego)
“In science, 95 percent certainty is often considered the gold standard for certainty.” - Seth Borenstein Associate Press science writer
Senator John McCain saw direct evidence of climate change when a Yukon elder presented him with a 4,000-year tomahawk freshly melted from the permafrost.
‘The science behind the greenhouse effect was simple enough to have been widely understood by the mid 19th century, when the light bulb and the telephone and the automobile where being invented – and not the atomic bomb or the iPhone or the space shuttle. The greenhouse effect isn’t rock science.’ – Nate Silver, author of The Signal and the Noise, page 376.
"Science is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. It is the evidence that does the dictating." - author John Reisman
'If you dismiss all climate science as a hoax, I can’t help you. That’s between you & your beach house — and your kids, whose future you’re imperiling.' —Thomas Friedman, NY Times columnist.
“Only poets can approach this task (describing the threat of climate change) until we come up with the right metaphor.” — Donald A. Brown, Associate Professor, Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law, Penn State University.