Boston snow
Boston received more than 98 inches of snow this season. Photo by Peter Eimon/Flickr

3 counterintuitive connections between climate change and extreme weather

More than 98 inches of snow has fallen in Boston this season, while workers have spent about 170,000 hours plowing the streets and distributed more than 76,000 tons of salt on roadways. At the same time, much of the American West, Rocky Mountains, and Northern and Central Plains have experienced warmer-than-average temperatures. California, in the grip of an epic drought, had its fourth-driest January ever recorded with just 15 percent of average precipitation.

So what is going on with this extreme weather, and what does it have to do with global climate change?

Due to recent analytical advancements, climate scientists are now able to more accurately determine how climate change impacts the odds of an individual extreme event occurring.

More research is planned in coming years to examine links between extreme weather and climate events and climate change, and global research already tells us a lot about the trends, including these three counterintuitive connections between climate change and extreme events:

1) Record cold temperatures can still occur in a warming world. …

2) A warming planet can make some regions much snowier. …

3) Climate change can contribute to a double whammy of drought and extreme precipitation in the same location. …

…more

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