The devastating snowstorm which swept through the Northeast over Halloween weekend is part of a disturbing change in climate. Greenhouse pollution is warming the North Atlantic and the Great Lakes, even as it alters weather patterns from the Arctic as sea ice disappears. The changing jet stream and increased water vapor in the atmosphere are some of the global warming-influenced factors that underlie the northeastern United States’ unprecedented increase in extreme precipitation events in the last 20 years, data from the National Climatic Data Center reveal. The chart below does not include this season’s storms.
“Freakish weather disasters — from the sudden October snowstorm in the Northeast U.S. to the record floods in Thailand — are striking more often. And global warming is likely to spawn more similar weather extremes at a huge cost,” says a draft summary of an international climate report obtained by The Associated Press.