Sochi pipe and the climate change : weather is not climate.

Onboard recently wondered if the problem in the Sochi pipe were due to climate change. I’m not against their implication on the climate subject and their answer is no, it was not climate change, plus there was a billion of things to consider. But the problem is not the answer, it’s the question.

There’s always gonna be warm and cold days, snowy or rocky seasons, moisture or dry air. If the competition had been held five days before, it would have been perfect. Perfect weather to be precise. It is the short term local effect. The one you feel when you ride, the one that made the pipe shitty.

Climate is a bit different though, it is longer term effect. It tells you what kind of lottery of you’re playing in term of weather, but it doesn’t tell if you win or loose on a specific day. So climate change basically tells you that odds have changed.

Now this is were it gets a bit tricky : if climate change already has noticeable effects*, which cold days have been replaced warm ones ? Well you can’t tell and you’ll never be able to. Imagine you play head or tail, but with a fake coin that has head on both side. Sure you will only get heads because it’s a fake coin, no question about that, just as there will be more warm day with climate change. But on this particular shot, did you get the right head or the fake one ? You can’t tell. Same with the olympic half-pipe : was it a normal warm day or  a new one due to climate change ? Can’t tell and we’ll never be able to. The answer is uninteresting because the question is pointless.

Keep it as a rule of thumb, whenever you start wondering “Is today’s weather due to climate change”, you’re asking a pointless question. If you ask “Is the snowfall of the last five season worldwide impacted by climate change” you’re in the right direction, but be prepared because it’s a super technical question. If you’re asking “what can I do to reduce my carbon footprint ?”, there you are, it’s the main question for random people like us.

So stop whining that your pow day has been ruined by China and drive less.

*I’m not discussing it here, it’s a very, very, very technical point. But we’ll know one day and even when we know it doesn’t change anything to the reasoning.


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