Weather Why: Cold Outbreaks & Global Warming

Weather Blog

Julie M asks, “If global warming exists, then why are we having the coldest and longest stretch of bitter cold in years?” It seems like if we’re saying our Earth is getting warmer, that we should not see any extremely cold outbreaks. However, there are still cold air masses in parts of our globe, the North and South Pole, for example. So we will still see cold outbreaks happen from time to time, even if the over-all global temperature average is going up.

With more frequent and warmer “coldest temperatures” for each year balancing out with the fewer coldest of the low temperatures in other years, temperatures still average out to a warmer temperature than in the past decades. Meteorologist Megan Salois explains in this week’s Weather Why how, despite cold outbreaks, we are still seeing a trend towards warmer temperatures on average over the last few decades.

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