The East Coasts winter hurricane/bomb cyclone/huge-ass storm boasts plunging temperatures and a nightmarish whirlpool of snow thanks to whipping winds from a nosediving pressure drop. Many East Coasters peeking out their windows today will just see an angry swirl of white.

Which is, of course, what many climate change deniers will pounce upon as proof that climate change is a myth. Look out your window, at all that cold, blustery snow, and headlines that scream about a bomb cyclone and temperatures that are colder than Mars and people dying from the cold. Their rallying cry: Global warming is not real; in fact, we need it!

That reasoning is fundamentally wrong.

Global warming and climate change are often tossed around like interchangeable terms, but theyre very much not. In a 2015 article explaining the difference on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Climate vertical, global warming refers to the Earths rising surface temperature.

Climate change, on the other hand, is the umbrella phrase for consequences of global warming that weve become increasingly, worryingly familiar with: rising ocean levels from melting glaciers, flash floods, fire-inducing droughtsand the dual combination of bone-chilling freeze and scorching heat.

What climate change deniers dont seem to understand is that, even if it happens to be cold outside today, it doesnt mean that the weather conditions we are experiencing are in any way normal. Global warming is in reference to rising temperatures on the planet, sure, but those temperatures have reverberations across the complicated dance of physics and atmospheric science that is the weather. The polar vortex, for example, is normally a shielding device deployed by the Arctics troposphere to keep frigid temperatures away from southern latitudes like ours. But there is evidence that sea ice that normally capped northern seas are melting, weakening the vortexs normally airtight funnel and allowing bitter cold normally contained in the Arctic to seep out.

This wouldnt have happened had humans not driven gas-guzzling cars and pumped out carbon-packed fumes into our atmosphere and bumping up the planet's natural thermostat a couple degrees. Naysayers will say a couple of degrees is not muchcan you really tell a difference between 70 degrees and 72 degrees?but delicate ecosystems that rely on strict flows are spun out of control when food sources die, when their habitat becomes unbearable, when the ice that normally insulates their homes trickles meltwhen that melt weakens the stratospheric vortex that unleashes a monster storm in your own backyard. Yes, global warming probably helped make the weather unbearably cold this winter. And pulling out of major worldwide climate change agreements wont help.

So no, climate change trolls: This is not a sign that we need to actually have more global warming. The storm wreaking havoc across the Eastern Seaboard is dangerous for its triple threat of snow, wind, and cold, but its a direct consequence of what we as a civilization have done in increasing our carbon footprint and spiking up temperaturesand is probably just a taste of things to come. And while meteorologists continue to study these wayward weather incidents and their relation to climate change and thus, global warming, its irresponsible and dangerous for people to equate cold weather as proof we need global warming.

That logic is stupid, baseless, and ignores the fact that peoples lives are at stake. Itll take more than a blizzard to convince naysayers that the logic of us needing global warming in times like these is outright bullshit, but its a start.

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