Comments On The News Article “Peru’s Mountain People Face Fight For Survival In A Bitter Winter”

In the set of news on the recent very cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere, there are news articles that continue to ignore the regional character of climate change and variability.  One example is given below, where instead of recognizing the complexity of the climate system (including the human role in altering it), the article blames  “increasingly cold conditions in their own microclimate” on “the rapid melting of the glaciers” which presumably is due to the “world growing ever hotter”.

The news article in the Guardian is

Peru’s mountain people face fight for survival in a bitter winter

The article reads

In a world growing ever hotter, Huancavelica is an anomaly. These communities, living at the edge of what is possible, face extinction because of increasingly cold conditions in their own microclimate, which may have been altered by the rapid melting of the glaciers.

A consequence is that Quechua-speaking farmers and their families, who have managed to subsist for centuries at high altitude, believe they may not make it through the next southern winter.

There have been warnings from meteorologists in Peru that this month will see the Huancavelica region hit by the worst weather conditions in years with plunging temperatures, floods and high winds. The weather is already claiming lives; last month seven people died and scores were treated in hospital after torrential rain caused flash flooding in Ayacucho, the capital of the neighbouring region.”

There is another article that perpetuates this focus on global average conditions rather than regional weather and climate. It is in the Sydney Morning Herald by John  Garnault titled

China blames freak storm on global warming

Excerpts from the article read

 “Freak snowstorms and record low temperatures sweeping northern China are linked to global warming, say Chinese officials.”

“But, unlike the unseasonal snow falls that hit Beijing at the start of winter, the dump this week appears to have no link to the Government’s relentless efforts to change the micro climate.”

I have posted on the need to focus on regional  circulations in a number of posts; e.g. with respect to human influences see

What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?

and natural variability; e.g. see

New Paper “How Will Earth’s Surface Temperature Change in Future Decades?” By Lean and Rind 2009

The media and policymakers need to recognize that climate is not adequately described by any global average metric.

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