Two studies, which will soon be released, show that giant blizzards, and less amount of snow, are the likely consequences of climate change.
Many global warming sceptics base their arguments on the contradicting weather events over the past couple of years. From having almost no snowfall in some parts of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast, within five years, the region experienced the most severe blizzards. Naturally, climate change was blamed for both, and non-believers have turned this contradiction into a joke.
However, there is a scientific explanation for it, and it is based on atmospheric physics: the higher atmospheric temperature, which can hold and dump more moisture resulting in devastating blizzards.
Climate scientists have established that in the past 50 years, the U.S. has experienced more extreme events, than in the earlier 60. There is also a clear trend which shows an increase in the extreme winter weather events in the Northeast part of the country. Nevertheless, the scientists at the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University used computer simulations and showed a decrease in spring snow cover over the past 45 years.
Scientists are only now starting to get closer to understanding the influence of artificial climate change on snowfall events. According to Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, people are more likely to experience less snow but more extreme weather events in the future.
According to another researcher from Princeton, Sarah Kapnick, snowfall is likely to turn into rain as temperatures rise in the coming years. She established this through a number of computer simulations of climate patterns in the next 60 to 100 years. The study also showed that parts of the U.S will be affected differently, with larger drops in snowfall from Maine to Texas and the Pacific Northwest and California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. In the Cascades of the Pacific Northwest, shorter snow season is already be observed, according to Philip Mote, head of the climate change institute at Oregon State University.
Scientists also point out that extent of snow cover is not related to the amount of snow and it should not be used as an indicator.
The extreme blizzards bring high quantities of moisture from the warm oceans, with air full of energy. According to Robinson and Oppenheimer, this increases the rates of snowfall.
Mila is a researcher and scientist with a great passion for soils, rocks, plants, water and all environment-related aspects of our surroundings. For the past 10 years, during the course of her educational and professional development, she travelled all over Europe, Africa and Asia, driven by her passion for the environment and urge to seek challenges.