Climate’s Ebb and Flow

A nice bit of business from Anjali Nayar’s NYTimes profile of Gavin Schmidt:

“The climate is like the city,” he said as he gestured at the scene around him.

The city is made up of millions of people making individual decisions: when to wake in the morning, what time to go to work, where to go on vacation. Yet many things about the city can be predicted. On weekdays, the subways will be more crowded at 8:30 a.m. than at midday. The government knows roughly how many jobs there will be next year.

“It is the same thing with the climate,” Dr. Schmidt said. “We don’t have to worry about every little detail of the weather to understand what is going on at the global scale, just like we don’t have to worry about every person to understand how a city works.”

One Comment

  1. I think it’s a good and relevant point that you don’t need to understand where each person is to understand that Manhatten is different at different times over the years. I don’t like it when my fellow skeptics (usually the lame-os harp on weather prediction versus climate understanding.

    That said (switch topics) I’ve generally found Gavin to be rather underwhelming when you really want to dig into a technical topic. He’s not a Feynman style truth seeker. He’s fine for giving “middlebrow NPR explanations”. But if you really want to “get it on”, he’s no good.

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