This week’s cold snap has brought record-low temperatures, freezing rain and heavy snow to much of the United States. But 2017 is still on track to be the second- or third-hottest year ever recorded globally — and scientists say climate change is to blame.
Even as the world gets hotter on average, winter isn’t going away, and there will still be extremely cold spells, climate scientists say. And even now, most of the world outside North America is warmer than usual for this time of year. In the Arctic and Alaska, recent temperatures have averaged 10-25 degrees above normal, said Zack Labe, a doctoral candidate studying Earth systems science at the University of California, Irvine.
“Climate change will not occur evenly from place-to-place. While your backyard may be having an intense cold snap, others may be having unseasonably warm temperatures. Climate is all about long-term trends,” Labe said in an email.