One month into 2022, a string of extreme weather conditions have crippled major U.S. cities, causing power outages and traffic jams in Virginia and Massachusetts. Cancellation of hundreds of flights. Scientists believe these are all linked to climate change. Higher temperatures cause more precipitation, leading storms to be heavier, and changing wind patterns can bring cold air to previously inaccessible locations.
“Are all these extreme events connected? Definitely yes,” Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts, told Yahoo News. “We are seeing an uptick of extreme weather events to the tune of about a tripling since the 1980s.”
“In terms of temperature and precipitation extremes, they’re definitely getting more extreme,” said Mathew Barlow, a professor of environmental earth and atmospheric sciences at UMass-Lowell. “We see that in the observations, that’s predicted by theory and it’s confirmed by models.”
In January, several unusually strong winter storms hit the South. One of these snowstorms was even stronger than usual. 13 inches of snowBoone, N.C. was one place where cars got stuck while another caused them to be stuck elsewhere More than 24 hours on I-95 in Virginia after more than a foot of snow fell — far more than the few inches that had been predicted. Boston tied its single day snowfall record of 23.6 inches last Saturday.
More than 100 million Americans from New England to Colorado will find themselves below the poverty line on Thursday. Winter weather alerts. Texas is one of these unlikely places. Below-freezing temperatures can cause ice and snowBlackouts were experienced by tens of thousands of residents in the state, one year after a series incredibly severe winter storms that left millions of people without power. Without power.
The intensity of summer heat waves and heavy rainfallstorms is also increasing. The last seven years have witnessed the greatest increase in rainfall and heat waves. Seven of the hottest yearsIn recorded history. Last July was the hottest month on record25 countries had their warmest year in history. New York City was struck by Hurricane Ida in September. It brought 8.41 inches of record rainfall, flooding basements and streets. 46 people were killedThe metropolitan region.
Some climate scientists believe that a new term may be needed for extreme weather because the current way of describing them fails to capture the dramatic changes they are making.
“One of the issues with ‘extreme’ is that once you’ve used that word, it’s kind of hard to talk about what it looks like when you have bigger extremes,” Barlow told Yahoo News. Johan Rockström, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, told the New York Times on Tuesday that recent weather events are increasingly “super-extremes.”
The fact that “extreme weather” can refer to both a bad hurricane and an utterly devastating one might cause people to underestimate the increasing severity of these events. “One aspect of that, that I’m not sure people always get, is that they look at the last six months or nine months and say, these extreme heat waves, even in Canada, the fire season, the flooding even in Central Park, and think, this is the new normal. And it’s not; this is just a way station,” Barlow said.
It can be difficult to adapt to weather changes that are constantly worsening. This is because many areas are being hit with unusually extreme events. As Southern cities are suddenly faced with snow, normally cool areas are also experiencing heat waves. In the normally mild Pacific Northwest, temperatures rose to 100 degrees Fahrenheit over days, causing more than 600 excess deathsOregon and Washington state. One year earlier, Verkhoyansk in Russia reached over 100 degrees Fahrenheit on June 20, 2020. hottest temperatureNever recorded northerly of the Arctic Circle.
In Germany, some areas received twice the amount of rain in two days than they usually get in a month last July. obliterating precipitation recordsFlooding homes in the tens thousands and resulting in at least one death 180 people.
Global warming may mean higher average temperatures but winter weather is becoming more extreme due to the impact of climate change on jet stream, a band that moves west to west.
“There’s a lot of research in the last decade suggesting that the jet stream is behaving differently now,” Francis said. “It is wavier than it used to be, and whenever the jet stream takes these big north-south swings, we tend to see unusual weather conditions unfolding along with those. All of these winter storms are associated to these large southward dips within the jet stream.
As long as humans keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping more heat and causing more second-order effects, these “super-extreme” winter events will become even more shocking and unpredictable.
“Until we really dramatically reduce emissions, it’s going to get more extreme every year,” Barlow said.