Climate change remains an issue that is not completely understood by the majority of the population. Here, we’re hoping to help you understand the overall effect of climate change a little better and how that change could affect the winter season in the near future.
All About Averages
The first thing that needs to be understood before we continue is that the planetary atmosphere, its relation to climate, climate’s relation to weather, and all the other auxiliary causes and effects tied to this brambled tree are complicated. Meaning, this isn’t a 1 to 1 scenario. For example, just because climate change is happening doesn’t mean each and every consecutive day, month, year, etc., will get warmer and warmer. If that were the case, maybe we’d all be a little more panicked about this whole thing.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not getting warmer. Instead, it means that winters are getting warmer on average, but there will still be more cold days and more extreme weather events.
Imagine a big ball. Now imagine that inside of that big ball is a smaller ball. The small ball is bouncy, and the big one is less so. You toss the big ball into the air, and it starts to fall. The big ball falls pretty steadily on the descent, but the small, bouncy ball is rattling around the big ball and going all over the place.
Still with me? Imagine the small ball is weather fluctuations, and the big ball is the globe’s average temperature. Well, okay, it’d be more accurate if the big ball was rising instead of falling — but you get the idea. So, on average, things are heating up, but that doesn’t mean cold will never happen again or that we won’t get sudden cold snaps ever again.
But it does mean that the smaller ball is going to be bouncing around a lot.
With Change Comes Instability
It wasn’t just a PR stunt when we started calling it climate change instead of global warming. We’re not just talking about getting tossed into a galactic oven. We’re talking about a radical shift in how the atmosphere of the Earth regulates itself (or how it doesn’t), which just so happens to include the big bad of things getting hotter over time.
Consider humidity. While arid parts of the world exist, heat, in general, tends to hold moisture in the air. The hotter the air, the more moisture it’s capable of trapping. So when the cold winds of winter come, there is a lot more moisture in the air now to work with to create snow. See how it isn’t just a 1 to 1 ratio of warmer = no snow?
Winters could actually have more snowfall as time goes on instead of less. In fact, when future winters come, they might be much harsher than we’re used to — brisker and windier as the ebb matches the flow. The tug and pull of hot and cold winds are double-edged. Even besides just changes in the immediate weather, that battle of temperatures has already given rise to a marginal increase in hurricanes over the last few seasons.
It also means that extreme weather events like the snowstorms in Texas last year will become more common. We’ll see more extreme weather in all parts of the world, including snowstorms, hurricanes, tropical storms, droughts, wildfires, and tornadoes.
The Bottom Line
Just like the little bouncy ball inside the big ball, winters will remain unpredictable. Overall, because of the increased moisture in the air, we are likely to get greater amounts of snowfall, and the storms could be harsher than in years past. However, some years are going to have a milder temperature and snowfall than the year before.
So while winters might not be canceled by Mother Nature anytime soon, it is very much still an issue that temperatures, in general, are on the rise. As a result, summers will get hotter, and life on Earth will get that much more hazardous.