Climate Action

Jonas, More Than A Blizzard For The East Coast

The recent blizzard, Jonas, left many of the East Coast’s major cities paralyzed and some are still digging themselves out of a storm that could be the new normal due to the impacts of man-made climate change. Climate change propagates extreme storms because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, which fuels severe snow storms when it gets cold enough to snow. If cities like D.C. keep experiencing warmer than usual winters, there will be more massive snowstorms like Jonas. It is concerning to recall hurricane Sandy, another superstorm that affected the East Coast just recently in 2012. World’s leading expert, Dr. Jennifer Francis, explained that studies have proved such a catastrophic event happened due to high warming-driven sea surface temperatures. Unfortunately, last week’s supersnowstorm, Jonas, could possibly share Sandy’s contributing factor, sea temperatures warming up and leading to extra moisture in the air. Potsdam University oceanographer and climatologist professor, Stefan Rahmstorf, has conducted studies that show how global warming is weakening ocean circulation in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, ultimately leading to changing climate. In other words, there is a slowdown in the North Atlantic Ocean currents resulting in massive precipitation and storm surge. Even more alarming is the connection of this slowdown to the infamous melting Greenland Ice Sheet. According to Rahmstorf these warm conditions could dictate a radical and serious change in the East Coast’s weather patterns. Furthermore, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently found that ocean temperatures off the East Coast are expected to warm three times faster than the global average. Thus, it is fair to say that, climate change is indeed altering the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean. Is it normal to have sea levels and sea surface temperatures on the East Coast rising faster than global average temperatures? Perhaps we need to better understand climate change in order to know exactly how it is affecting the Earth’s weather patterns and to determine whether the East Coast should be prepared to face the increasing consequences of these global changes.