The Times podcast: Our Masters of Disasters know it’s windy weather when they turn up at a place to watch it.
On one of his early tours out of the capital building, Winston Churchill described the weather as “one of the most important things,” because he then knew the enemy was in the field. The phrase, which can apply to anything from air raids on cities to the weather of the Second World War, may be Churchill’s most memorable, because he was right.
Today, of course, we refer to the weather as “the climate” or “climate change,” even though the climate is very hard to define and often doesn’t change all that much. But during the past century, the concept of climate has changed from a way to describe the weather, to a way to understand the behavior of the planet, to an overarching way to describe the future of civilization.
In this new era of climate research, the old masters of disaster — people who have spent decades studying how and why the planet warms and cools — are increasingly joined by others who are beginning to understand that climate change is having some of the most extreme effects on society.
In this episode, host Tom Foremski speaks with five scientists who are working to understand the connection between the climate and society, and to explore how society might adapt to the changes.
A big theme of this episode revolves around the fact that climate changes — or, rather, weathers — are all over nature. When the ice in the polar regions melts, for example, it changes the ocean currents and the storms that come with them. In the same way, the fact that the oceans are warming is changing the temperatures on the land as well.
As we know, the planet has been warming and cooling since the beginning of the planet — when the earth had no atmosphere — and it has continued to heat and cool as the planet has changed over thousands of years. And now, as the