The difference between weather and climate

This is a great two-minute video in which Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the difference between weather and climate (h/t HotTopic). It’s a preview from National Geographic Channel’s Cosmos series.

The difference between weather and climate is important to understand because people have a tendency to see variations in the weather as a reason to dismiss climate change. For instance, a cold winter can make people think climate change is not happening or is nothing to worry about.

The last time Australia had a significant drought, people were more willing to accept regulations to control their carbon emissions. When the drought ended, they lost interest and with it, the momentum to change. But drought will return to Australia and according to the recently released IPCC report, the frequency and severity of these droughts is going to increase. The next major drought could be soon if predictions of an impending El Niño prove accurate.

Don’t be duped by variations in the weather. It’s the long-term trend that counts.