We’ve all heard about global warming. Many deniers use bitter, cold days like today to discredit global warming. But remember, two days ago we were experience balmy weather. At 4 a.m. on January 29 the temperature at Toledo Express Airport hit 63 degrees. Sadly for those who enjoy warm weather, another cold blast swept through our area, bringing gusty winds, snow squalls and bitter temperatures.
These are not isolated incidents. Winter storms are hitting entire regions of the country. The Weather Channel has taken to naming winter storms. This year they have named 11 winter storms.
On average, weather is inconsequential to us--we can go about our daily routines and ignore the weather. Then from out of nowhere a rare January tornado strikes or a 30 car pile-up caused by icy conditions brings traffic to a halt on one of the busiest highways in America. We need to understand the conditions that lead to these weather events.
Global warming does not mean an end to snow. Global warming actually increases the lake-effect snow, bringing more snow to the area east of Toledo known as Snowbelt. In the winter Northwest Ohio’s winds often come from the Northwest. These cold winds pick up moisture from Lake Erie and release the moisture as snow. And by the time the winds hit Cleveland, they are loaded with moisture, dropping it in record snow.
Lake Erie’s ice cover has been starting later and ending earlier for over 150 years due to warmer springs and autumns. Without a protective ice covering on Lake Erie, more moisture evaporates and falls over Cleveland.
It is important that we understand our weather. By understanding the science behind global warming, we can be better prepared for the rare winter tornado or the icy conditions on major highways that lead to 30 car pileups. We shouldn’t deny global warming, discount it, or claim there is nothing we can do about the weather.