Snowmageddon 2016 Brought to You by Climate Change

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By: Katie O’Brien

Mega winter storm Jonas, also referred to as Snowzilla or Snowmageddon, is just starting to hit the Eastern U.S. The D.C. metro area (where CHEJ is located!) is the bull’s-eye of the storm, expecting up to a whopping 30 inches. It is expected to snow for about 36 hours and will affect over 60 million people. Many of these people are under a blizzard warning, meaning the storm will have long hours of strong wind gusts and extreme reduced visibility. In some areas it will snow at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour. The DC area has not seen this much snow in the forecast since 1922.

But why have storms such as Jonas, and others like Superstorm Sandy become so severe? Many scientists believe that human induced climate change is to blame.  The Director of Penn State’s Earth Systems Science Center, Michael Mann, says that “unusually warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures” can cause high amounts of moisture in the air and are contributing to these severe storms.

“When you mix extra moisture with “a cold Arctic outbreak (something we’ll continue to get even as global warming proceeds) you get huge amounts of energy and moisture, and monster snowfalls, like we’re about to see here”, says Mann.

Scientists are in the process of completing additional studies showing that climate change is causing the increased length and severity of these life-threatening storms. Many of them believe that climate change is altering the patterns of weather by affecting the jet streams in which they travel. This slows down storms immensely, causing heavy precipitation to essentially “dump” on certain areas at increased rates. Climate change is changing our world in big ways.

While some may use huge snowstorms like Jonas to deny climate change, this storm actually supports climate change science.

It’s time to fight back against the affects of climate change. Click here to learn more about how you can personally reduce your carbon footprint.

Click here to learn more about climate change and Blizzard Jonas.

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