Like Hurricane Sandy, BIG Blizzard Linked to Climate Change

The same factors that linked the record-breaking Hurricane Sandy to climate change operated in creating the destructive record-breaking blizzard that hit the northeast US recently, reports Andrew Freedman at Climate Central. Extra air moisture due to the warmer ocean temperatures off the east coast, meant record-breaking snowfall when that air mass travelled north and met cold Arctic air travelling south over the northeast.  Similarly, extra moisture from warmer coastal waters also meant torrential downpours from Hurricane Sandy. An increase in global temperatures has created an average increase in air moisture over the past decades. The blizzard delivered massive snowfalls in an extraordinarily short time, and like Sandy, caused major flooding in some coastal areas in combination with storm surges. Rising sealevels, driven by global warming, increase the height and destruction of storm surges, a combination of storm strength and the height of tides. According to NOAA’s Climate Extremes Index, during recent Northeast cold seasons, big one-day precipitation events make up an increasing proportion of the seasonal precipitation total. Thus, extreme precipitation events are playing a larger role in winter, and, like this blizzard, can have major societal impacts. 

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Life-Threatening Blizzard Poised to Strike New England (Climate Central)   and

About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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