Is currently the daily weather report that does not ignore the climate crisis
Every morning, I wake up to Currently, a newsletter containing weather information specific to a growing list of North American cities, with two sections: a paragraph about the local weather, currently, and a story related to the weather or the climate. It was founded by meteorologist Eric Holthaus, author of “The Future Earth” which Sami Grover wrote about here. There are no moving maps and hourly forecasts; just a well-written description by a meteorologist or local expert. It is described as “a community of people sharing resources and bringing justice, hope, connection, safety and resilience to a world in dire need of systemic action.”
Weather and climate are of great concern to people these days as much of the world is experiencing unprecedented heat waves. However, reading Currently reminded me that for a long time we had to deal with the difference between weather and climate. A decade ago, many American meteorologists and forecasters were, in fact, climate change deniers. Katherine Bagley of Inside Climate News reported that “only 19% accept the established science that human activity is causing climate change”.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, snowballed Congress to prove that climate change was a hoax, because, hey, he’s doing cold outside in February, even in Washington, DC. The response to this idiocy was usually to point out as Jeffrey Kluger of Time magazine did: “Either he really doesn’t understand that weather is not climate, that long-term trends are different from short-term shocks , that what’s happening at your house or in your town really isn’t what’s happening anywhere else on the planet, or he knows it and he pretends not to know it.”
Perhaps the best explanation of the relationship between weather and climate came from Kate Marvel in Scientific American, who wrote “Make No Mistake: Weather Is Not Climate”, with the subtitle ” But the climate affects the weather.” In 2018, she wrote:
“I won’t be sad to see the end of this summer. It’s been brutal: heat waves in London and Tokyo, scorching temperatures and melting permafrost in the Arctic, wildfires ravaging California and Greece. A city in Oman experienced temperatures exceeding 108 degrees F. The night. I wonder if this year could be the year the world finally wakes up to the reality of climate change.”
She notes that it is impossible to predict the weather long in advance: “For this reason, many people are nervous when talking about extreme weather events in a climatic context. more likely extreme event.”
I discussed this issue and the Marvel article with Meg Rutan, partnerships coordinator at Currently, noting that for years we would say “the weather is not the climate”. However, Current is a website dealing with both climate and weather, founded by a meteorologist. She told Treehugger:
“Kate describes it very well: climate is personality; weather is mood. Climate defines the basis of what the weather should be like, but there’s a lot of variability in a constraint,” says Rutan. “The weather is influenced by climate change – it is the daily/weekly signal of the effects of climate change on our daily lives. Hurricanes, heat waves and precipitation are all weather phenomena, but climate change makes them even more dangerous. And as we continue to broadcast, these climate-charged weather events become even more relevant to our daily lives. There would be no forest if there were no trees.
Rutan adds, “I think climate activists and communicators are making a mistake by only trying to see the big pictures; we need a smaller view of how important weather is to all of us every day and how climate fundamentally alters those metrics. the climate is personal and persistent rather than distant and slow. In addition to providing people with the weather services they need to stay safe on a regular basis, weather is a way people can understand climate change in their daily lives.
What’s fascinating about Current is that in a time when I get incredibly detailed weather data through Snowflake or Apple Weather, Current gives me the big picture in well-written words, much like you would have gotten in your newspaper 20 years ago.
As of this writing, Anwar Knight, the Toronto writer, notes that “the heat wave continues” and tells me the projected maximum for the day and that “there may be enough instability to generate a downpour fast and isolated for the afternoon, but this risk is quite low.” It’s chatty, informative, and really everything you need, followed by the article of the day. It’s my new morning source of information on the personality and vibe of what’s out there. Check it out on Currently.