What is Global Warming? (a simple explanation)

What is “global warming”?

We hear a lot about “global warming” or climate change. Right now, the United States is setting hundreds of new “coldest temperature” records. Doesn’t that mean global warming is wrong? It’s really hot in Australia right now. New high temperature records, they say. So does that mean global warming is right?

(I use global warming and not climate change because the theory is heat is building up on earth. This is believed to be causing changes in climate that are not “natural”.)

Colder temperatures do not disprove global warming. Hot temperatures do not prove it is true. Nor do wildfires, drought, or any other weather variation. Global warming is based on changes in the average temperature of the planet. What does that mean?

Average is what you get when you add a group of numbers together and divide by the number of numbers. Here are two examples:

1 3 5 2 9 summed(added together) equals 20 then divide by 5: 4

2 2 12 1 3 summed equals 20 then divide by 5: 4

5 0 5 5 5 summed equals 20 then divide by 5: 4

25 75 100 -10 30 summed equals 220 divide by 5: 44

15 85 50 0 70 summed equals 220 divide by 5: 44

5 95 20 50 50 summed equals 220 divide by 5: 44

If you look at the numbers closely, you will see the numbers are very different in each set, even though the averages are the same. Which means you can have really, really different numbers and all give the same average. Colder in the United States can be cancelled by hotter in Australia. There are thousands of temperatures involved. This means scientists really don’t know how temperature changes will happen in a particular place. To make this more complicated, scientists look at the changes from the average, not the average itself. All of this is quite complicated and based on math and models. In reality, things are far from certain, no one really can predict year and years into the future.

What does this all mean in real life? The warming predicted has leveled off. Over time, the warming could become cooling, but we don’t know this yet. We just do not know.

Are we having more hurricanes and storms? No, those things are predicted by the theory. They are not currently happening. In some places, these weather events have actually decreased.

Right now, all the global warming is in models and so forth. In reality, the temperatures have leveled off. Are the dire predictions that keep being made possible? Of course. It’s also possible that cooling could begin. No one, repeat no one, knows. To be afraid or start doing drastic things like trying to stop the use of fossil fuels is to not understand what science tells us.

4 comments on “What is Global Warming? (a simple explanation)

  1. David: I am allowing you to comment provisionally. If you follow the rules, you can comment.
    I have not said that “all climate is wrong” so you’re skating on the edge of an allowable comment.

    The IPCC definition is acceptable and very close to what I stated on Briggs. Climate is the statistics of weather.

    I don’t have time at the moment to coment on the IPCC report. If there are specific items you think I need to address, please list them.

  2. David Appell says:

    If you’re going to claim that climate science is all wrong, you should first familiarize yourself with itsliterature.

    Sheri commented @ Briggs:
    “Science needs these definitions before we can attribute any changes in weather or climate to humans, much less one extreme weather event.”

    Please read the IPCC 5AR WG1, Annex III – “Glossary” pg 1450.

    “If it means “more changes in the anamoly from the average global temperature” than if humans were not burning fossil fuels, then we need to know what said changes have to do with weather and local climates and much more evidence of causality and not just “consistent” with…”

    “Detection and Attribution of Climate Change: from Global to Regional,” IPCC 5AR WG1 Ch10 pp 867-953.

  3. Brad says:


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