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Warmer Winters and Heavy Snowfall: Brought to You by Global Warming

2/4/2010 1:28:36 PM

Tags: climate change, global warming, National Wildlife Federation, weather

When I talk to my friends and family about the importance of taking care of our planet, especially to help curb global warming, the nonbelievers usually fire back “Why are we getting such heavy snow if we’re in a climate crisis?” or my favorite “If the planet is warming, why is it so cold?”

In a new report from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), experts from around the country explain that global warming isn’t going to destroy winter overnight and that some of the strange weather we are experiencing is one of the effects of climate change. The report, which was authored by NWF’s climate scientist Amanda Staudt, emphasizes the weather is highly variable year-by-year. But looking at long-term trends, global warming is definitely real and having detrimental effects.

The report explains winter is becoming shorter and warmer. David Robinson, climatologist and professor of geography at Rutgers University, says the first freeze is happening later, and spring is coming almost two weeks earlier. Winter weather is greatly affected by even a few degrees difference. In areas where it still remains freezing, the increase in temperature is causing bigger snowstorms because warmer air can hold more moisture. In places where it is not below freezing, more rain and the potential for flooding exist.

John Magnuson, professor emeritus of zoology and director emeritus of the Center for Limnology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stressed the importance of not being misled by inter-annual weather compared to long-term trends. Magnuson studies limnology, the study of inland waters, and warned about the significant variability in duration of ice cover. Typically, lakes freeze in the winter but in years where the duration of ice cover is shorter some aren’t freezing completely. Others are not freezing over at all. The unfrozen water is available for evaporation and can cause large lake-effect snowfalls.

The variable weather makes budgeting for cities and states more difficult. Joe Drobot, scientific program manager for the Weather Systems and Assessment Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Research Applications Laboratory, says the increase in variability can complicate city and state budget planning. Snow and ice removal accounts for about $12 billion a year, so after a year of less than average snow fall, cuts to snow and ice removal seem to make sense. When winter weather inevitably hits, cities and states have a harder time cleaning it up.

Climate change is the largest threat to wildlife, according to Staudt. Pests that usually cannot survive due to winter conditions are surviving and wreaking havoc on ecosystems. Pine bark beetles have destroyed millions of acres of pine forest throughout the northwest and Canada, and ticks are spreading and finding new homes in places they where they previously couldn’t survive. Birds are becoming accustomed to warmer conditions and are delaying migration or not traveling as far, which can lead to frost bite or death when the freezes come.

Crops and plants are in danger, too. Because spring conditions are coming earlier, many plants and trees are blooming earlier. But late freezes or drops in temperature can destroy the crops. Many fruit and nut crops need a “winter chill” to resume growth, but these chill periods are becoming shorter (thanks to global warming) which means a smaller yield from these crops.

The NWF offers two solutions to the problems posed by global warming. They call for aggressive policy reform: to reduce coal, oil and gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. They also want communities and winter-dependant industries to prepare and plan for the future effects.

Read the National Wildlife Federation's full climate change report. 



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Post a comment below.

 

Charles J_3
11/3/2010 3:13:39 AM
Everytime I hear these flat earth loons scream that global warming isn't happening I want yank them out of their seats and press their faces into the dirt where a glacier once flowed. No matter how much evidence you show them they are going to be in denial just like a drug addict. 98 percent of scientists are kicking and screaming trying to warn us but these flat Earth socialites have been duped by the oil companies using tabacco co. style disinformation still eat it up hook line a sinker.

TODD REECE
3/1/2010 7:39:58 PM
Kathy (and pro-GWarmists) Did you even look into the sites that Eric provided earlier before going off about how you wanted to scream?? Or did you make snap judgment based only on what you "know" as opposed to clear thought and proper examination? If you did the latter, then you have to seriously look at your motivations and reasoning... We are getting ready to go back to the Earth...In a big way. Millions will die. Either by design or by calamity. Look at Haiti and Chile. Looting, disorder, dying after these events (heyyyy katrina??) show exactly what will happen when people are stressed with little hope of survival... Now, I'm sure that ties in fine with the population/climate control thats being foisted on us eh?

TODD REECE
3/1/2010 6:44:33 PM
but you know Kathy, you are right to a degree... NOONE wants dirty air or water or natural areas... NOONE! But the fact that the elites are thrusting this onto the world is dangerous and down right scary. Articles from all over the world are thrashing the GW scientists for their "skulduggery"... Its one thing for a person to do whats right... Its all together different for governments to mandate ways that people live and paths they choose for their existence. And NEW reports are saying hogwash on Mans role: quote= The writers provide quantitative estimates of the scope and extent of their corresponding effects on the Earth’s climate. Quantitative comparison of the scope and extent of the forces of nature and anthropogenic influences on the Earth’s climate is especially important at the time of broad-scale public debates on current global warming. The writers show that the human-induced climatic changes are negligible.” http://www.springerlink.com/content/t341350850360302/ keep on thinkin' its settled. drink that 2-liter of koolaid....ya hear?

TODD REECE
3/1/2010 5:57:27 PM
Kathy.. YOU make ME want to scream. Are you kidding me? After all the evidence of slanted, cherry picked, non-peer reviewed crap that is being pushed onto the world citizenry. Why are the scientists re-starting their research and re-doubling their science? Why are scientists reducing or revoking their Sea Level rising projections? WHICH btw, like the Himalayas glaciers melting was mass propegatede BASED on a magazine article and NOT on science. But other than that, yeah...realllll trustyworthy stuff.. Scream away...

Kathy_45
3/1/2010 11:30:06 AM
After I read these comments I want to scream. Even if global warming isn't real like you think what is wrong with helping the earth? I do believe in global warming and am tired of reading comments by people who say it is all a hoax. What planet do you live in?

Eric_32
2/27/2010 9:56:11 PM
My comments were directed at the author of the "blog". Not to you Mark, who is obviously sick of hearing all the lies like I am.

Eric_32
2/27/2010 9:51:31 PM
I understand your concern, but you haven't done your homework. You had to hear about the East Anglia e-mails that came out, proving that global warming data has been tampered with. Al gore will not comment on any of this because he is afraid he will be shown for what he really is, a fraud, who will go to any lengths to make money on global warming. The head of the IPCC will go under an independent inquiry into the performance of his organization in the near future. This is not the first time IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri, a rail-way engineer, has been put under scrutiny. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7316758/IPCC-chief-Rajendra-Pachauri-to-face-independent-inquiry.html Of course Pichauri isn't the only one held to the fire. A leading IPCC panel member admitted to not even reading the climate change report. He is nothing but a blind follower, like most people who believe in this scam. http://noteviljustwrong.com/blog/general/376 Climate scientists had to detract a story lying about rising sea levels. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/21/sea-level-geoscience-retract-siddall For a full story on the hacked e-mails, visit the Guardian's report. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/series/climate-wars-hacked-emails I am disgusted with the article or blog posted on this website. I would expect more. What happened to pollution, genetically engineered crops, big corporations buying up seed companies, you know, things that matter?

mark_92
2/27/2010 7:36:30 PM
everytime i hear global warming i want to scream . theres the cold months called spring fall and winter then theres summer . last summer here in kansas we didn't hit 100 but a few times . my heater runs from oct to april my air conditioner runs from july to mid september . smog blocks the sun . also this is why i only look over mother earth online and don't buy it anymore politics . do a story about how obama's wife planted a garden last year and a month later harvest it










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