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What’s Up With This Weather?

While most of the nation bakes, California keeps its cool–and not just along the coast

Climate scientist Phil Duffy and meteorologist Jan Null joined Michael Krasny on KQED’s Forum to discuss California’s cooler-than-usual summer and what it might reveal about climate change in the region. The upshot? We don’t really know.

“I think we’re seeing plain old climate variability,” said Duffy, who is a visiting scholar at Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science and chief scientist for Climate Central, a Climate Watch content partner.

Null agreed with Duffy, saying that in any given year, “stuff happens,” which can’t necessarily be attributed to a larger trend.

“It’s hard to take an individual year and say ‘This is the result of climate change’,” said Null. “It could be just the roll of the dice. If we see a lot of stuff happening over the next decades, then we’re talking about climate change.”

Null said this summer’s cool weather is due to a persistent trough of low pressure along the west coast.

“Anytime you have that for an extended period of time, you get what people call ‘unusual’ or ‘freakish’ weather,” he said. Continue reading