NOVA’s ‘Decoding the Weather Machine’ deconfuses climate debate

NOVA - Decoding the Weather MachineNOVA's compelling examination of the changing climate cuts through the noise and sticks to the facts on how and why our climate is changing.

Nothing affects us all the same way everyday as the weather.

But what drives the weather? How can we be sure the climate change we’re experiencing now is different from changes throughout Earth’s history? If there were ice ages in the past, won’t there be more in the future? Haven’t there always been extreme weather events like Nor’easters and flooding? Why differentiate between weather and climate at all?

The NOVA documentary, “Decoding the Weather Machine,” painstakingly connects the dots between the components affecting — and rapidly changing — the global climate, and, thus, our local weather.

Originally aired April 18 on PBS and available online, the apolitical program distills the complexity of climate science into cause and effect. You may not care about the specifics of El Niño and La Niña, but you’ll have a deeper understanding of how sea surface temperatures can alter weather patterns for thousands of miles, and what to expect as sea surface temperatures continue to rise.

Remember, we’re living on a water-dominated world, yet the growing human population means we’re dominating Earth in ways never before experienced in the planet’s 4-billion-year history. And that means we’re affecting the climate, too.

“Decoding the Weather Machine” also explores the many alternative energy options that can help shift our dependence away from fossil fuels, which would reduce our impact on the climate, and slow the rate of global warming. And the timing of that shift is increasingly critical, because 2018 and beyond will bring more years of record high temperatures.

Global and European temperature

Source: European Environment Agency

The NOVA program demonstrates how our global climate and local weather is the product of four key elements: land, sea, ice and air (the atmosphere). There’s a delicate balance among the four, and 800,000 years of data has proven such.

But since the industrial revolution a gross imbalance has emerged, and global fossil fuel emissions are largely the cause. Humans have changed the environment in ways that pose serious health risks worldwide, and it’s up to us to fix it.

See also: