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You've probably wondered at least once: If global warming is real, what's with all the snow? The fact is, each year the planet continues to get warmer. But climate change is evidenced by all kinds of weather extremes--hot or cold, wet or dry. New York State Director Bill Ulfelder talked to NY1 to discuss how wacky weather in 2010 marks clear examples of climate change.
Extreme Weather Events of 2010
February: Blizzard hits Washington D.C.
In all, the D.C. metro area received well over 50 inches of snow last year, a record.
July: Floods in Pakistan
The worst flooding event in 80 years claimed the lives of 1,600 and prompted a global humanitarian relief effort to assist millions of people displaced by the flooding.
August: Heat Wave in Moscow
A summer heat wave combined with the smoke of massive wildfires caused thousands of deaths in July and August attributed to the unseasonable weather.
September: Tornadoes hit New York City
A series of tornadoes hammered New York City this year. The first, blew through the Bronx with 100 mph winds in July. Then in September, two tornadoes, barreled across Brooklyn and Queens, claiming at least one life.
December: Blizzards and Waves Pummel New York
A blizzard raged across the northeast at the end of 2010. It dumped nearly 20 inches of snow in New York and New Jersey. But that wasn’t all: The eastern shore of Long Island was pounded by huge surf. The combination of sustained northeasterly and northwesterly winds in excess of 50 miles per hour and gusting up to 60 miles per hour, enormous surf, and above normal storm surge led to devastating coastal flooding, beach erosion, and in some areas, washed houses into the sea.
How Does This Relate to Climate Change?
Think of your refrigerator. When you leave the door to the fridge open, the room gets colder but the fridge warms up. Likewise, as Arctic sea ice melts over warmer summers, more heat is absorbed in the Arctic during the fall. This drives cold Arctic air into Europe and the Eastern United States and funnels warm air up into the Arctic regions. It causes a new pattern we’re not accustomed to.
What You Can Do
These severe weather trends affect farming, recreation , backyard gardening and even insurance rates for people in high risk areas. You can take action right now:
- Calculate your carbon footprint so that you know what changes you and your family can make
- Simple things like turning the lights off, unplugging appliances and reusing plastic bags add up. Just like this weather, you too can make a huge impact all over the world.