According to Dr. Marshall Shepherd, the former head of the American Meteorological Society, California’s drought and harsh winter weather might be due to climate change. While it is impossible to attribute a single storm to climate change, the overall weather patterns across the United States are changing as the oceans warm. The extreme weather conditions in the west and the heat in Alaska are related to global warming. At the same time, California drought bears a striking resemblance to the atmospheric pattern predicted. He believes that scientific study already suggests that the loss of ice has allowed extra heat to escape from the Arctic into the atmosphere in the fall and early winter, disturbing weather patterns over vast distances. This has made extreme weather events of all kinds more likely in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly including winter extremes like the cold blasts hitting the east coast recently.
Shepherd claims that the United States has been under high pressure resulting to snowpacks that allow cold air to ooze down into the country causing the succession of winter storms. This pattern is not broken in the high and low pressure systems of the jet streams, but it can be affected by the amplified warming due to global warming. There is also a likelihood that climate change causes the west to dry out, by the arrival of more dry air from the tropics. Furthermore, increasing temperatures caused by climate change make the water from the oceans to expand. This contributes to an increase in sea level that rise rapidly and affect the low-lying coastal areas such as Oklahoma with hurricanes and tornadoes. He further says that human activities are contributing to this issue and that policy makers should decide on how to deal with it (CBS, 2014).
CBS. (2014, February 16). Are Calif. drought, harsh winter weather due to climate change? Retrieved from the web. CBS Videos: <http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/are-california-drought-harsh-winter-weather-due-to-climate-change/>