Climate change is certainly causing more powerful storms
From the moment a powerful blizzard hit the northeastern United States — only a few weeks after comfortable, spring-like weather — the questions about climate change’s impact have been asked.
According to leading scientists, we bear some responsibility for the storm, which covered much of the inland areas with up to two feet of snow. And President Donald Trump is definitely not helping matters.
“There is a connection between global warming and the increased frequency of heavy snowstorms,” said James Hansen, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. “One factor is the increased amount of water vapor that the atmosphere holds in a warmer world.” In the late 1980s, Hansen testified that climate change — and the warming of the atmosphere — leads to “greater heat waves and stronger droughts” but more rain and floods in areas.
“The ‘100-year flood’ now occurs more often than once a century,” Hansen said.
Michael E. Mann, Director of the Earth System Science Center and Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, observed that the warming climate is actually causing more snow. “The oceans have been at record levels of warm the past two years (and climate change is a key contributor to that),” Mann said. “That record warmth means that there is more moisture in the atmosphere that is available both to help strengthen the storm and produce record snowfalls as the warm oceanic air is entrained in toward the eastern U.S. by the cyclonic winds of the storm. Climate model simulations indicate a likelihood for stronger, more snow-making storms, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
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