Apr 28, 2009 | 16
Temperatures on the Eastern seaboard have risen to the high 80s and low 90s in recent days, 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for April in the region. Here in New York City, where Scientific American's offices are located, we may break the record high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit on this date set back in 1990. But as the temperature climbs in the Northeast and summer wilt sets in before trees have even budded out, it's worth remembering that weather is not climate.
Weather is the day-to-day temperature, humidity or precipitation that determines whether you'll wear your spring coat or strip down for summer. Climate is the overall combination of all these elements over a long period of time.
Temperature records kept since the 19th century reveal that global average temperatures are inexorably creeping up, a phenomenon dubbed climate change. The cause? Increasing levels of greenhouse gases, most commonly carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere, which trap heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space, like a smothering blanket.
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Deadline: Jun 30 2013
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