America "Ununited" When It Comes to Weather:

Today's NYT has an interesting story on how different parts of the United States can experience quite different weather extremes at the same time, and how this may influence American perspectives on climate change.

Western Europe often experiences extremes of weather in a uniform way, as when a catastrophic summer heat wave in 2003 in a half-dozen countries caused the deaths of thousands of people.

In the United States, which spans a continent, there is almost never a shared sense of meteorological misery — as was made vividly clear when epic snows buried Denver as if two winters hit back to back while the Northeast basked in warmth that seemed to render the whole idea of seasons meaningless.

Some climate experts muse that the innately variegated climate across the country might help explain why it has taken longer for human-caused global warming to rise to the level of a national priority here than in Europe.

This is not a testable hypothesis, and the experts note that many other factors contribute to varied attitudes on the issue, ranging from contrasting cultural and political biases to different levels of dependence on oil and coal or the industries that profit from them. But they do see the climate issue compounded here by how normal it is to have abnormal — and very different — conditions around the country.