More than half the country is reeling from an epic winter blast with power failures and suffering. While some of the national news media is blaming the power failures on “too much renewable energy”, most of the other news media simply just talks about the weather and how bad it is. It’s time to connect the dots and get real about climate change and what we need to do about it.
Wow! Official 31 degrees below zero at the Lincoln airport on 2/16/2021! The second lowest temperature ever recorded for Lincoln, NE. Texas in a natural disaster from record lows. And more than 200 million Americans (in the lower 48 states) coping with cold and winter conditions as never before.
So…., let’s just forget about global warming. Climate change is just another conspiracy theory concocted by a bunch of egg-head scientists who are up to no-good!!!
But, not so fast here. We just might want to listen to our trusted weatherman or weatherwoman first. It seems they are always mentioning high-pressure and low-pressure systems moving our weather patterns around. They talk about the Jet stream as they forecast upcoming weather. Even the term, Polar Vortex, enters their conversation in winter months.
What’s really going on? Well, that Polar Vortex is a pattern of colder air over the North Pole that usually stays in that northern region by the Earth’s rotation and that area’s big temperature differential relative to those of the mid-latitudes. Generally, a strong jet stream will be circling that polar vortex and keeping it stable and in place. However, when those temperature differences are reduced, then the jet stream weakens and begins to wobble. And sometimes in those deep wobbles, it dips way down, plunging a mass of cold air down into the lower 48 states such as what we’re experiencing now.
So, this arctic blast IS connected to global climate change. The Arctic Region has been warming at accelerated rates over recent decades as snow, ice, and tundra melt. And those rates of temperature increases have been much faster than those of the lower latitudes. In fact, the first 100- degree Fahrenheit day ever recorded in the Arctic was in Siberia in June 2020.
So, it may not be what we want to hear, but given a wobbly jet stream (Weather Forecasting 101), we might expect greater frequency and even intensity of these winter blasts. And that’s Climate Change 101! Time to ‘connect the dots’ AND ACT on the climate challenge before us.