Frigid Weather and Global Warming

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Q: And is there any relationship between this week’s storms and local weather change? I seen that the local weather scientist Katharine Hayhoe makes use of the phrase “global weirding.”

John: There’s attention-grabbing science that implies the results of a warming world have one thing to do with these sudden bursts of Arctic chilly, as nicely. The chilly air on the prime of the world, the polar vortex, is normally held in place by the circulating jet stream. The Northern Hemisphere’s warming seems to be weakening the jet stream, and when sudden blasts of warmth within the stratosphere punch into the vortex, that Arctic air can spill down into the center latitudes.

Q: Are there every other altering patterns of winter climate that could be linked to local weather change?

John: A warming environment can maintain extra moisture, so once you do get storms you possibly can anticipate to see heavier rain and snow. There’s additionally fascinating analysis that hyperlinks a warming Arctic to elevated frequency of the broad vary of utmost winter climate in elements of the United States. It’s generally known as “warm-Arctic/cold-continents pattern,” a phenomenon that’s nonetheless being studied.

Q: What are the current climate traits — throughout winter or not — the place the proof most strongly suggests local weather change is enjoying a job?

John: In the United States, we’re seeing longer wildfire seasons due to hotter, drier situations, and our hurricanes have gotten extra damaging in a number of methods, together with flooding and storm surge. It’s even worsening the distress of pollen season. We’ve all the time had floods, fires and storms, however local weather change provides oomph to many climate occasions.