Killer Storms, Mild Winters: That's Climate Change

Atmospheric physics are apparently behind it
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2013 6:13 PM CST
Pedestrians make their way down a road during whiteout conditions in Salisbury, Mass. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – Climate skeptics may be chuckling, but scientists say our odd mix of extreme snowstorms and otherwise-mild snowfall is caused by climate change. Apparently it's all atmospheric physics: Lower temperatures give us more rain and less snow, but a warmer atmosphere can retain and drop more moisture, which leads to storms like don't-name-it-Nemo. And man-made global warming is likely behind it all.

Statistics back up the odd feast-or-famine winter weather, the AP reports. Twice as many heavy snowstorms have struck the US in the past half-century than over the previous 60 years; at the same time, the Northern Hemisphere's spring snow cover has dwindled by about 1 million square miles. "Shorter snow season, less snow overall, but the occasional knockout punch," says a Princeton climate scientist. "That's the new world we live in."

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