Richard Rood, is a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan. He loves discussing the intersections of weather and climate, and climate and society. One of his current projects involves studying trends in extreme heat events. Rood is a blogger at Weather Underground and teaches a class on climate change problem solving.
As climate change is a favourite topic of Prof. Rood, so here we go. We have questions for him.
Q: How would you define ‘climate change?’
Richard Rood: As a basic definition, climate change would be an increase or decrease in the mean of the fundamental parameters we use to measure the Earth’s environment. This requires definition of several items: the parameters, what part of the environment, the amount of time used to calculate the mean, the spatial extent over which the parameters span, etc. Important amounts of time for our discussions of climate change are human, for example, the life span of the infrastructure in our cities. A common definition would be changes in the global average, surface air temperature, where the baseline is defined as a 30-year average. This is a weather- and atmosphere- based definition. (more…)