Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Frigid Air & Global Warming

When Arctic air invades the U.S., as it has twice in the past two weeks, climate change deniers begin to resurface, crowing that record lows negate the argument for global warming.  Focused on their own interests, they are quick to claim that severe winter weather is more evidence that concerns over climate change are unwarranted.  Perhaps they should spend some time in Florida where coastal flooding has become a major problem.

Indeed, meteorologists point out that Arctic air invasions are often due to high pressure domes over northern latitudes, an atmospheric condition that is increasing as the climate warms.  Forcing westerly winds to veer northward, these blocking highs end up displacing polar air to the south, invading southern Canada and the U.S.  Of course, similar patterns occur across the globe, producing warm weather in some northern regions and bringing frigid air to more southern latitudes.  While the global climate and transient weather patterns are not always related, this phenomenon illustrates that some linkage occurs (and may intensify over time).

In the midst of a frigid Arctic invasion, we humans may be inclined to welcome the prospect of global warming.  Unfortunately, it is developing with a variety of consequences, most with dramatic effects on natural ecosystems and, thus, on the welfare of our civilization as well.