Oddball Winter Weather – More Intense Storms

By Larry J. Schweiger

As the East Coast is experiencing another big snowstorm, I thought I’d highlight National Wildlife Federation’s recently released report “Oddball Winter Weather: Global Warming’s Wakeup Call for the Northern United States.”

The report highlights the seemingly peculiar effect that global warming is having on winter weather in the northern United States. Even as winter is becoming milder and shorter on average, most snowbelt areas are still experiencing extremely heavy snowstorms and some places are expected to have even more heavy snowfalls, with their attendant disruptions to commuting, work, and school.

And check out Dr. Jeff Masters’ excellent posts to better understand how more energy in the atmosphere from a warming planet can affect the intensity of snowstorms: “record-breaking snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. In fact, we can expect there may be more heavy snowstorms in regions where it is cold enough to snow, due to the extra moisture global warming has added to the atmosphere – an extra 4% since 1970. Snow is not the same as cold, and we have to look at global temperatures, not snowfall, to evaluate whether global warming is occurring.”