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Additionally, according to NOAA, if the mild conditions in the U.S. persist through February, this could be the country’s warmest winter in recorded history.
What’s Happening: While it’s still too soon to tell how this winter’s balmy weather might relate to climate change, the conditions are being more directly caused by an Arctic weather pattern that is trapping cold air in the polar region. NBC added that scientists are watching this system closely to try to understand whether this winter is an outlier or a preview of what could become more common for the Northern Hemisphere.
Longer Trends: Overall, a warming planet is making winters warmer. As the Washington Post explained, because of human-induced climate warming, winters like this — characterized by a lack of extreme cold and spotty snowfall — may become the norm this century.
In terms of what’s happening in the DC area, multiple studies have projected that the climate of the Mid-Atlantic region will turn more southern over the coming decades. This means shorter winters with far less bite. From a practical standpoint, you may find yourself needing heavy coats, scarves and hats far less, and hitting the golf links rather than the ski slopes.
Why This Matters: While winters can be a drag, they’re very important from an ecological standpoint. Below freezing temperatures kill ticks and other insects that carry disease and for Western states that depend on it, snow is a critical part of their water supply.
Additionally, as the National Snow and Ice Data Center explained, seasonal snow is an important part of Earth’s climate system. Snow cover helps regulate the temperature of the Earth’s surface, and once that snow melts, the water helps fill rivers and reservoirs in many regions of the world, especially the western United States.
Warm winters might be more comfortable in the short run, but in the long term, we have to urgently tackle climate change to ensure they don’t turn into something very problematic.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes and 3 to 6 become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. The forecast is due to cooler ocean conditions in the Pacific and warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
Why This Matters: It could be a disastrous summer. The new climate normal on top of the COVID-19 pandemic will make things challenging everywhere.
After suffering record-breaking heavy rains, the Central Michigan city of Midland experienced a catastrophic 2-dam collapse along the Tittabawassee River yesterday evening. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and expressed that “In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately nine feet of water.” Whitmer also urged people […]
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