The Great Groundhog’s Day Blizzard – Worst Winter Storm in 60 Years

Images Modis sat - January 31 at 10:30 a.m., 12:05 p.m., and 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time

This is what climate change looks like

One of the largest winter storms since the 1950s has hit 30 U.S. states from New Mexico to Maine and now into central and eastern Canada — +100 million people affected, hundreds of thousands without power. Chicago could get buried by more than 60 centimeters (2-ft) of snow — hundreds stranded already.

Climate change is certainly playing a role in this massive storm.

1. Warmer global temps means there is now four per cent more water vapour in the atmosphere which means heavier snowfalls.

2. There is also more energy in the climate system which makes storms more powerful.

3. Finally the melting of the Arctic sea ice is changing wind patterns in the polar regions bring colder, wetter winters to the eastern US  and western Europe scientists told me several months ago. (See my previous post East Coast Blizzard and Europe’s Snowmaggddon Reveal Fingerprints of Climate Change

Climate change loads the dice in favour of extreme events.

My latest article on this The Yin and Yang of Climate Extremes We Will See More of. — Stephen

Recent related articles:

Climate Change Could Be Worsening Effects of El Niño, La Niña

Arctic Melt Down Is Bringing Harder Winters and Permanently Altering Weather Patterns

Arctic Ice in Death Spiral, Thaws Permafrost — Risks Climate Catastrophe

Arctic Hothouse Turns Europe into an Icebox

Here’s a temperature map from mid December illustrating the super warm Arctic region and the icy cold Europe in the mid-latitudes. [[ see also temp anomaly chart showing Hudson Bay to Greenland is 18C above normal this week]]

My previous post explains what is going on: East Coast Blizzard and Europe’s Snowmaggddon Reveal Fingerprints of Climate Change

— Stephen

And here is the Arctic sea ice extent – lowest ever for December.

As of Jan 2 Canada’s Hudson Bay is still not completely frozen over – likely the latest freeze up in a very long time. (10,000s of years?)



East Coast Blizzard and Europe’s Snowmaggddon Reveal Fingerprints of Climate Change

Coldest Christmas on Record on the UK -18C

In Oslo last June climate researcher’s told me the melting Arctic ice will likely produce colder winters in the eastern United States and Europe. Looks like they were right. Winter freeze up in the sunless Arctic ocean was two months late this year because of a near record ice loss last summer that is expected to continue if not accelerate in future years.

Several research programs have been studying the impacts of this huge loss in Arctic sea ice and presented their findings for first time at the International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference. My summary from 15 June:

Climate change has warmed the entire Arctic region, melting 2.5 million square kilometres of sea ice, and that, paradoxically, is producing colder and snowier winters for Europe, Asia and parts of North America.

“The exceptional cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010 in Europe, eastern Asia and eastern North America is connected to unique physical processes in the Arctic,” said James Overland of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in the United States.

In future, cold and snowy winters will be the rule rather than the exception” in these regions, Overland told IPS.

Thanks to support from readers and the organizers of the conference I was able to attend that polar science conference. No media/publication would front any travel money to help me get there. I was one of a small handful of jurnos there and the first to write a piece documenting the link between global warming and bitter winter weather.

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My full article from Oslo is here: Arctic Melt Down Is Bringing Harder Winters and Permanently Altering Weather Patterns