Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down the differences between weather and climate change. COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY AIRS MONDAYS at 9P.

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Comment by Tom Margolis on May 30, 2014 at 3:57pm

Weather is like the path of a single smoke particle above a campfire: reacting in the short-term to small-scale factors, such as the behavior of neighboring particles and tiny differences in micro-temperature and pressure.  Climate is like the path of the entire column of smoke: reacting in the long-term to large-scale forces like the prevailing wind and large-scale pressure gradient.

It's much harder to predict the path of a single smoke particle over a few seconds than to predict the path of the entire smoke column over many minutes.  This is why we have trouble predicting the weather for two Tuesdays from now, but can model large-scale climate changes over decades.

Comment by Teri G on May 31, 2014 at 12:06pm

That's a brilliant way to describe it to people who don't understand it. Very easy to understand!

Comment by Tom Margolis on May 31, 2014 at 12:40pm

Thanks, Teri.  Pass it on!

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