When a U.S. Republican senator threw a snowball onto the Senate floor in late February of 2015, he used it to underscore his belief that human-made climate change was an alarmist conclusion. The snowball had been rolled from the Capitol grounds in Washington D.C., which, at the time, was experiencing an uncharacteristically cold winter…
If global warming was real, he posited, how could the nation’s capital experience such severe cold?
Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer,” said, Jennifer Francis.
Beyond a need for more scarves and gloves, colder winters could have serious implications for North American farms.
In an op-ed published in Nature alongside the study, noted climate scientist Ana Bastos wrote that the warming temperatures have the potential to weaken vegetation and shorten spring growing periods. The study looked at crop yields recorded by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and found crop production declined by an average of one to four percent during warmer Arctic years. Some states, however, saw a decline of almost 20 percent.