Each winter cold snap, Twitter lights up with climate change skeptics claiming climate change is a lie, a claim based only on temperatures dipping below freezing. This is a gross oversimplification, but to all the science believers it can still be a hard reality to explain. So we asked our friends over at The Weather Channel to help answer the question, “If the world is warming, why is it cold outside?”
Here’s what Meteorologist Carl Parker had to say:
Extreme heat is becoming more likely, but extreme cold can be related to climate change as well. In general as the planet warms, we expect to see an increase in the intensity and frequency of heat waves, and warm records have outnumbered cool records by 2-1. This ratio may increase to 20-1 by the mid-century (Meehl 2009). Winters are expected to get warmer in the long term, but for now we can still experience severe cold outbreaks, sometimes driven by climate change-related circulation changes. With sufficient cold and more moisture in the atmosphere, storms can produce heavier snowfall. Of the top nine snowstorms on record in New York City since the mid-1800s, six have occurred since 2003.
Here at The Weather Channel there is no debate about what is happening to our climate system. We’ve been watching the planet for almost 40 years, and we’ve seen dramatic changes in our oceans, in our atmosphere, and in our biosphere. We know that it’s happening, we know that it’s us, we know that it’s serious, and most importantly, we know that we can do something about it.
Do you have more questions for The Weather Channel about climate science? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @LCVoters and your question may be selected!