A few weeks ago, Lyndi Weener wrote on why unprecedented weather in southern states should not be viewed as an argument against climate change. With a northern state snowpocalypse (snowmaggedon, snowzilla) barreling toward West Michigan this week, it’s perfect timing for a new study to be released explaining how these storms are a sign of how climate change disrupts long-standing patterns, according to a new report by the National Wildlife Federation.
In general the study notes that the extreme weather should be an argument for the existence of global change, not against it. Grist put the study in context of the pending storm yesterday.
Cold air blowing down from Canada is the proximate cause of Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s remarkably cold temperatures. But the epic levels of snow and ice coming our way are just the sort of thing we can expect more of as the planet warms, says a new report from the National Wildlife Fund.
First it was the “Midwest accent” that spread to all the nation’s newscasters. Now we all get to experience the singular clobbering powers of “lake effect” snow.
Cold temperatures aren’t enough to cause inclement winter weather — that’s why Antarctica is technically the world’s largest desert. In fact, because cold air is automatically drier, it takes the meeting of cold temperatures with masses of warmer, moister air to bring the pain, snow-wise. This has long happened with warm air above the Great Lakes, but thanks to climate change, we’re basically all lakes now. Warmer winter temperatures and more moisture are already leading to more precipitation, as well as shifting storm tracks northward, says the NWF.