How familiar will your climate be in a few decades?Enlarge (credit: Pool Olortiga Ramirez)
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions may seem like taking responsibility for the sake of future generations.

But the pace of climate change is certainly meaningful within a single lifetime.
One way to think about climate change, as explored in a new study led by Victoria University of Wellington’s Dave Frame, is that temperature patterns eventually move out of the range you’re accustomed to. Weather and climate are naturally variable, but if the climate shifts, unusual conditions can become the new normal.

The “unusual” end of the spectrum gets replaced with more extreme conditions than before.
Defining the unknown
In this case, the researchers focus on the ratio of signal to noise—the warming change versus the normal range of variability.
Specifically, starting with a bell curve distribution defined by the mean and the standard deviation, the researchers defined changes based the average annual temperature by a standard deviation.
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