Climate Change Is Causing Extreme Weather Events

With extreme weather occurrences breaking out all around the world, many people are wondering how climate change is impacting these storms.

Winters are becoming warmer on average, and we are breaking much fewer cold records than warm ones in the United States and throughout the world. That is simply the average, and as the world continues to warm, this is a pretty natural, reasonable link.

Climate Change Is Causing Extreme Weather Events
Trends in unusually hot and cold temperatures across the United States.

Climate change is directly altering winter storms. For example, it is causing storms to have more fuel to work with in the form of water vapor and heat, more moisture, and as a result, these storms are dropping more precipitation.

Focusing on the huge bomb cyclones (large storms like Winter Storm Elliott, which impacted most of the United States late last year), these storms are being affected in a variety of ways.

The warming of the ocean is extremely significant. First, as we warm the ocean, the temperature disparity with temperatures over land increases as Arctic air descends southward. The seas off the coast of the Atlantic have warmed several degrees, and storms feed on the temperature difference.

Another issue is that as the world heats due to climate change, there is greater evaporation from the land and ocean, resulting in more water vapor in the atmosphere. When that vapor condenses into clouds, it releases a lot of heat into the atmosphere, which storms need as fuel—this is known as latent heat.

The other thing is that that water vapor provides more moisture for storms, which results in more frequent heavy precipitation events, which has been clearly observed. This heavy precipitation in turn increases the intensity of the impacts of winter storms.

There may be a silver lining to this. People’s attention is piqued by these severe and disruptive situations. It’s a chance to educate people about how climate change is affecting them and harming individuals and communities right now, and they should demand their governments and corporations to quit lip service and greenwashing before it’s too late.

Reference- National Geographic, EPA, Discovery Magazine, The New York Times, Journal Nature