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Global Warming

January 13, 2009

A listener asks: If it’s so cold outside this winter, how can we be experiencing global warming?


Why it’s so cold outside….I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Listener George Morris of Rockville, Maryland wrote us with a timely question. If climate change is warming the planet, he asks, then why is it so darn cold in some parts of the country this winter? Well, George, we have an answer for you from University of California, Irvine atmospheric chemist and Nobel Laureate, Sherwood Rowland.

SHERWOOD ROWLAND (University of California, Irvine):
Global warming is an average over the climate and over locations all around the world. And that’s something which has been changing through the last three decades and before that. When something is very special, most people remember it and it’s the 20-inch snowstorm and not the fact that that’s way away from the average.

And if you have a science question, give us a call at 1-800-whyisit.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.