This past year has been full of extreme weather events from flooding, to snow and extreme heat, but the main question many of us have is, why?
Extreme weather events seem to be happening all over the country. Even here in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania we have had our fair share, from catastrophic flooding in September, to a freak snow storm in October, extreme heat and severe weather in the summer.
But the main question is why? Is climate change really occurring? Or are we just paying more attention to the weather now.
Chief Meteorologist Tom Clark weighed in with his opinion.
“Well I’ve seen my share, you know? The flooding, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, I don’t think we’ve seen any more than I did when I started. But we certainly get our fair share of severe weather,” said Clark.
Some meteorologists are saying it’s not the weather that has changed so much as the media attention and people becoming more aware of significant weather events.
Our morning meteorologist Joe Snedeker says social media has played a big role in grabbing the people’s attention to weather.
“There’s some national indication that we’re getting more severe weather events, but when you think about it, you know, with social media, networking, the internet and even cable stations, you go back just 20, 30 years ago, there was none of that. So people are paying more attention to events now when they do happen, then when they did 20, 30 years ago,” said Snedeker.
Meteorologist David Nicosia from the National Weather Service in Binghamton said, “I have seen more record-breaking snowfall and flooding in the past 20 years, but that could be due to climate change.”
“With a warmer climate, we have been getting more precipitation,” he added.
So then comes the big question, does global warming play a part in this severe weather pattern?
“Is man causing any increase in severe weather? I’m not going to rule that out. Maybe. I mean there’s global warming, we’ve seen a warmer global atmosphere, we’ve seen that happen and seen that temperature going up. How much of that is man induced? I’m not sure. I think most of it is natural,” said Clark.
So back to the main question is there an increase in frequency of severe weather? Well since our records only go back about 100 years we only have a small-scale picture of what’s actually going on. It could take centuries to fully understand our global weather patterns.