We are in January and in the Northern Hemisphere there is a cold wave of up to -50º North that specifically hits the United States. Some leaders, like Trump, say that global warming does not exist because temperatures are cold. However, the reality is that this excessive cold is a new warning signal about the unsuspected consequences that climate change can have. We explain you that here clearly.
In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 29 de enero de 2019
The cause of this phenomenon is the irregular behavior of the winds of the Arctic region, which normally contain the vortex in the area, but this time pushed large masses of icy air from northern Canada to the United States.
Is this strange behavior a consequence of climate change that has been affecting the planet in recent decades? If the most visible consequence of this alteration is global warming, how can such extremely low temperatures be explained? We have consulted different specialists to try to answer these questions.
What is climate change?
The first thing is to differentiate climate from weather. The climate is a combination of meteorological phenomena consolidated over the years, such as temperatures and average rainfall. In contrast, weather is the meteorological phenomena that occur at a particular time. Thus, time can not be accurately predicted more than four or five days in advance, but it is possible to predict what the evolution of the climate will be like in the coming decades.
“Climate change produces changes in the averages of rainfall and temperatures, and can also cause an increase in the frequency of extreme events, such as heat waves or cold waves,” says socio-ecologist Manuel Calvo Salazar. , environmental consultant at the EstudioMC.
“But you can not link an isolated event, a polar wave in particular, with climate change, it can be said that it favored the proliferation of cyclones in the Pacific and of hurricanes in the Atlantic, but not that it is the cause of a certain cyclone or hurricane”, he adds.
The same goes for the cold wave that crosses the United States this week. It is not possible to affirm that it is a direct consequence of climate change, but it is probably another expression of a phenomenon that is a result of it: the reiteration of extreme episodes.
“Climate change is a consequence of the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, which causes radiative forcings that suppose a change in its energy balance, which triggers different meteorological phenomena,” says Calvo.
The most important of all is the increase in average temperatures in the world. What is known as global warming. But if the most prominent phenomenon is the increase in temperature, how do you explain that there are also episodes of extreme cold?
When the heat causes cold
The sustained increase in the average temperature on the planet is an indisputable reality. This causes a wide range of imbalances that manifest themselves in extreme weather events. Hurricanes, cyclones, deep storms and abrupt changes in time are some examples more and more common.
“Unusual temperatures or rains are likely to occur as a function of global warming, including intense cold. There are hypotheses that associate the decrease in ice at the North Pole with an increase in jet stream, which normally causes very low temperatures near of the poles, and that could reach more remote areas, such as the North of the United States, “explains Enrique Jurado, a biologist from the School of Forestry Sciences of the Autonomous University of Nuevo León.
“Global warming can increase the frequency of cold waves and heat waves because when the energy balance of a system is modified, the point of equilibrium is changed, and these sudden increases and decreases in temperature are the response that the system has to rebalance, “says Calvo.
The need to change our lifestyle
“There are some very dangerous effects associated with global warming,” Jurado says, “for example, the melting of ice masses at the poles causes important changes in marine currents and an increase in sea level, which puts the coasts at risk.”
So we, people, are the ones who must change this. Ghandi used to say: You are the change you want to see in the world”.