A Modest Terminology Proposal

Written by: Paul Rubin

Primary Source: OR iin an OB World

I just finished shoveling snow, an exercise I will have to repeat later today and possibly tomorrow, as we enjoy the first of multiple winter storms queued up all the way from mid-Michigan (where I live) to the central Pacific, each patiently awaiting its turn to annoy me. With that in mind, I would like to point out cardinal failings of our terminology for climate phenomena.

Global Warming

This term was in vogue several years ago, but seems to have been surpassed by “climate change” (next item). One problem with “global warming” is that while it may be true in an average sense, it frequently does not resonate in an instantaneous sense. When you’ve lived through a “polar vortex” and are awaiting the rumored arrival of another one, “global warming” seems neither likely nor a bad idea.

Climate Change

This is the phrase currently in vogue. Its two main faults are that (a) change is not necessarily bad and (b) change is inevitable (except, as some wag once noted, from a vending machine).

My Proposal

With those thoughts in mind, I would like to propose a new phrase that I think is both more descriptive of current climate phenomena and better conveys a sense of concern about them:

Bipolar Climate Disorder

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I'm an apostate mathematician, retired from a business school after 33 years of teaching mostly (but not exclusively) quantitative methods courses. My academic interests lie in operations research. I also study Tae Kwon Do a bit on the side.

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