When we look only at the weather in our area over the past couple years, it is very easy to have the mistaken idea that it is changing in ways that it never done before. Even when we understand that weather patterns and cycles are virtually be definition events that change, by looking at the weather from a narrow time frame, it is far too easy to get pulled in to the whole global warming hype.
When we look at the weather over the long term, though, we see that while it changes, it doesn't do so in unusual or unheard of ways, and that it does seem to follow defined cycles.
In the 60's and 70's, severe storms lashed most of the US. Not as much damage was done as in those storms than what has occurred after 2000, however that is in large part because in the past decade, there have been far more people and structures than there were a half century ago.
There was a shift in the 80's and early 90's. Much of the US suffered droughts of varying degrees, while in other places around the world, colder temperatures and precipitation that was far above normal, were registered.
The pendulum has swung once again in the other direction in the past few years. Much of the US is again suffering below average temperatures that are breaking records, and precipitation amounts have again been steadily increasing, while at the same time, other places in the world are suffering drought.
This is basically a full cycle over just the past 50 years or so. If we look back even further, we see the same pattern repeated again and again. Around the 1900's, for instance, much of the US had colder and wetter weather, but by the 1930's and the dust bowl years, drought was again the norm in the US.
These are lengthy cycles, and we are just now beginning to understand some of the longer-term cycles that exist. There are so many that we may never understand them all. What we can know for sure, though, is that the weather will continue to change, the cycles will continue to move along, and that there is little that man can do about it.
Looking back over time gives us the best look at what we can expect in the future, though it hasn't been written yet. Not looking back over time, though, simply gives us a way to fool ourselves.