Shoveling snow

When there’s a heavy snowstorm, meteorologist Marshall Shepherd inevitably gets the same question.

Shepherd: “I will get people that will tweet me, and say, ‘Hey Dr. Shepherd, I got 20 inches of global warming in my yard, what are you guys talking about?'”

Shepherd is a professor at the University of Georgia and host of the Weather Channel Show, “Weather Geeks.” He says in northern states, warmer temperatures can actually lead to more heavy snowfalls. That’s because warmer air holds more water vapor, which is the fuel for snow. Plus, he says, there’s the big difference between weather and climate.

Shepherd: “I’ll often say weather is your mood and climate is your personality, and nothing about your mood today perhaps tells me about your personality. Weather is sort of the day to day variations in atmospheric conditions.”

Meteorologist: 'I'll often say weather is your mood and climate is your personality...' Click To Tweet

But climate reflects larger global trends over many years.

Shepherd: “We can’t use our own personal narrative or experiences to define global climate change.”

So, even if it’s hard to imagine a warming climate while you’re out shoveling in a hat and gloves, Shepherd says you cannot draw conclusions about global warming based on a single blizzard or cold snap.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Andrea Booher/FEMA

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