January 26, 2015

Northeast Blizzard: Nature + Climate Change = Worse

Statement by Robert Mera, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (January 26, 2015)—The massive winter storm predicted to engulf the entire Northeast is the result of a “bombogenesis,” which occurs when a storm takes on an explosive nature.

Below is a statement by Robert Mera, a Union of Concerned Scientists Kendall fellow and meteorologist.

“It’s a natural phenomenon—a dramatic and rapid drop in pressure—that is making this blizzard so bad. 

“Climate change, in this case, is playing a more subtle role. It has contributed to higher amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, which can cause heavier snowfalls. It’s also responsible, at least in part, for a much warmer Gulf Stream—over 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average for this time of year—which is adding fuel to the storm.

“Climate change will also make coastal flooding worse. Coastal flood warnings are posted throughout the Northeast. Just like a hurricane, the winds during this storm will kick up the seas and cause storm surge. The storm surge is now riding in on seas that are 8 inches to a foot higher in the Northeast than they were in the early 20th century.”

Also see UCS’s webpage: It’s Cold and My Car is Buried in Snow. Is Global Warming Really Happening?

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.