MOOC Refelctions : Climate Change, Exeter, week 1

How cool is that! My First ever MOOC, and the first thing they tell me is that I have to write blogs and tweet about them! I love to write blogs! ha!

So here we go, my first reflections on “climate-change-challenges-and-solutions”

What is the difference between weather change and climate change?

Weather, in my part of the world, The Netherlands, changes on a daily basis. Yet streams transport low and high pressure systems across the Atlantic and bring wet & windy weather when the wind blows from the west, cool and wet when wind blows from north, cool and dry when from the east and soft and wet when blowing from the south. The yet stream is the motor of weather changes.

“Climate” used to be the average measured, by definition, over a period of 30 years. Looking at these averages you could tell that winters were soft and wet, springs usually pleasant, summers comfortable, and autumn wet and windy. These averages show a lot of variability leading to winter periods with frost and snow (skating!!!) and sometimes semi tropical summers.

What I see changing in my lifetime is that the variability both in weather AND climate are changing:
– weather patterns get stuck : weeks on end with northerly winds, switching to weeks on end of southerly wind. Huge downpours, unknown since measuring began in the 1700’s, dried out dikes because of lack of rain. All weather phenomena.

With the changing of the weather (freak events every month, we just had the three “hottest” January days ever recorded) we see a changing of the climate: spring starts sooner (second week of January and we still see flowers), autumn ends later.

The relationship between the changing of the weather and changing if the climate was one of the reasons to enter this MOOC. I’ve done a lot of reading, and I think the culprit is the yet stream that is powered by the temperature difference between the equator and the poles. Because the poles (at least the arctic) heats up a lot faster than the equator, the delta-T gets smaller! and the motor behind the yet stream fails.

Time to discuss now, please do!!


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