Consecutive Wyoming Avalanches Remind Us of Hidden Dangers of Weather Patterns Shifted and Intensified by Global Warming
Posted Jan 22 2009 3:54pm
A Meteorological Yoyo
It is official. The year 2008 was among the warmest and coldest on record.
as the climate crisis continues to unfold, we see more predictions of historic
atmospheric shifts come to fruition. Way back in May, I told you about disruptive avalanches. Well, we just had another, two, in
fact, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They were especially disruptive because they
happened sequentially, a fatally rare occurrence.
The Wyoming avalanches were part of a barrage of winter weather which struck
nearly half of the continental United States in December, dropping huge
quantities of snow and ice on dozens of cities and, sadly, killing a great many
people. The record quantities of frozen precipitation were preceded by record
rainfall in other places, which left horrible flooding in the nation’s
midsection. Each storm occurred within mere days of the next.
When I traveled to Maine for my sister’s wedding, which was ushered in by
several feet of gorgeous snow powder, my flight both ways nearly was canceled
because of separate blizzards. However, as soon as the second storm ended, New
York City, which had been buried in snow right before Christmas, saw its daytime
temperatures shoot up to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and then plummet for New
Year’s Eve with wind chill factors near zero.
So, as you ponder the question of just how much snow Mother Nature can send to
any particular spot during a given winter season, remember that the atmospheric
systems which create snow no longer work as reliably as before because we have
bent their cogs and chipped their flywheels. Even if we begin repairs today,
which effectively would be impossible on such short notice, every revolution of
those mechanisms will lead to further degradation. It is a sad reality which is
as predictable as the dawn.