But I thought we had global warming!?

Posted at 6:00 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 18:24:25-05

A giant mass of air from the Arctic spreads over metro Detroit and a large swath of North America, driving temperatures below zero and grabbing headlines.

"But I thought we had global warming," some people crack, even mocking the whole idea. So obviously, they think, the whole "climate change" thing is just a joke, or worse. 

This script has played out before, and it will again. And whether you're an actor in this little skit or just a spectator, you can take comfort in three important stone-cold facts:

  1. Weather and climate are different things
  2. The "Lower 48" only make up about 1.6% of the surface of the globe, so what happens here is only a small puzzle piece
  3. Even in a climate-changing world, very cold outbreaks are expected to happen in some places

These points and more are in a short video produced by the University of Michigan Climate and Space Department, featuring Professor Richard Rood, among others.

The graphics are mesmerizing, the explanations are easy to understand, and the timing is perfect to watch, while it's cold outside (in the interest of full disclosure, I helped produce the video).

So even though a majority of Earth is actually warmer than average in these last days of December, our little corner of the globe in metro Detroit is shivering but knowledgeable, so nothing can keep us down.