Is Climate Change Causing More Frequent Blizzards?

Coburn Palmer

Travel bans have lifted, snowplows are running, and residents on the East Coast are beginning to dig themselves out from under the worst winter storm in years.

As the sky clears, residents are once again questioning why the number of blizzards is increasing and if it has something to do with climate change.

The answer: yes and no.

"Sunspot-minimum periods tend to coincide with more frequent polar outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere that could increase the likelihood for blizzard occurrence."
"However, sunspot activity is only a small component in explaining the frequency of blizzard occurrence."

"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."

The blizzards are getting worse because there's so much moisture in the air. As the earth's temperature increases because of climate change, more and more moisture is captured in the atmosphere as Kevin Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, told ThinkProgress.

"Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture."

They contend that the mere existence of powdery white snow is clear evidence against global warming and climate change.

Mann, however, refutes that assumption with peer-reviewed science, as he explained to ThinkProgress.

While critics like to claim that these massive winter storms are evidence against climate change, they are actually favored by climate change.

"Cold-season storm tracks are shifting northward and the strongest storms are likely to become stronger and more frequent."