Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 27 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/17/21

Role of Climate Crisis "Can't Be Hand-Waved Away": Scientists Say Freezing Texas Linked to Warming Arctic

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Become a Premium Member Would you like to know how many people have read this article? Or how reputable the author is? Simply sign up for a Advocate premium membership and you'll automatically see this data on every article. Plus a lot more, too.
Author 90876
Message Common Dreams

See original here

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer

"This extreme polar vortex event epitomizes everything climate change is: unprecedented, unrelenting, affecting a population unaccustomed and unprepared. Yes, we have always had winter -- but not here, and not like this."

Texas Snow
Texas Snow
(Image by glennharper from flickr)
  Details   DMCA

While the climate emergency is typically associated with heat waves, wildfires, and other signs of a hotter planet, some scientists are arguing -- the bitterly cold weather currently contributing to suffering and death in Texas and other states accustomed to mild winters is connected to the rapid warming of the Arctic.

"Every cold snap," as the New York Times noted Monday, "can be counted on to elicit quips and stunts from those who deny the science of climate change."

Nevertheless, even though the connection between global warming and "weather patterns that send freezing air from the polar vortex plunging all the way to the Gulf Coast" can seem counterintuitive, the newspaper continued, devastating cold-weather events like Winter Storm Uri are related to a climate crisis driven by accelerated greenhouse gas emissions and defined by rising temperatures.

That's why the climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe told the Times she prefers the phrase "global weirding."

Journalist Emily Atkin explained Tuesday in her Heated newsletter that the jet stream bringing "dangerous Arctic weather to millions of Americans" is, like other forms of extreme weather, related to the climate crisis. Atkin cited Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who told her several years ago that "all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be."

According to the Times, "The air that usually sits over the Arctic is now sweeping down South because of changes to the jet stream, the high-level air current that circles the Northern Hemisphere and usually holds back the frigid polar vortex."

"There is research suggesting that Arctic warming is weakening the jet stream, allowing the cold air to escape to the south, especially when a blast of additional warming strikes the stratosphere and deforms the vortex," the Times reported. "The result can be episodes of plunging temperatures, even in places that rarely get nipped by frost."

While Amy Butler, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Chemical Sciences Laboratory, disputes the existence of "any long-term trend in polar vortex disruptions" because, as she told the Times, they "occur naturally even in the absence of climate change," other experts argue that there is, if not a causal link, then a correlation between climate change, a weakened jet stream, and an increase in southward excursions of cold air.

Judah Cohen, the director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, told the Times that "severe winter weather is much more frequent when the Arctic is warmest."

"The current conditions in Texas are historical, certainly generational," Cohen told The Guardian Wednesday. "But this can't be hand-waved away as if it's entirely natural. This is happening not in spite of climate change, it's in part due to climate change."

According to Atkin, Cohen is echoing the findings of Jennifer Francis, a research scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center, who reiterated Tuesday that "this kind of pattern is going to be more likely."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

 

Rate It | View Ratings

Common Dreams Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

commondreams.org is a progressive publisher
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Drone Papers: Leaked Military Documents Expose US "Assassination Complex"

WH Stenographer Who Resigned in Protest: Trump's "Not Even Trying to Tell the Truth"

'Smoking Gun': White House Finally Admits Bannon and Kobach Were Racist Minds Behind Scheme to Rig 2020 Census

Food Lobby Colossus Sues Vermont over GMO 'Right to Know'

Here Are the 19 Senate Democrats Still Not Committed to Defending Net Neutrality

Bernie Sanders May Run for President in 2016

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: