Weather and climate extremes have been affecting people around the world, from recent droughts in China and Australia to strong storms in Asia to a cold wave in large parts of Europe and the United States — all within a month of the World Meteorological Organization reporting 2008 would likely rank among the 10 warmest years on record. The cold wave sparked significant discussion, and the year 2008 ended up slightly colder than the previous year, partially because of the La Ni±a phenomenon. How could we speak of global warming in the middle of a cold wave in parts of the world? If 2008 was indeed cooler than 2007, is climate change real?
For scientists the answer is clear enough, as the examples mentioned are the result of natural climate variability, wh