The chilling effects of global warming By Arin garland

When I went to Vermont with my family over Christmas break, we went to Smuggler’s Notch, like we do every year; however this year was unlike any other. Despite my several heavy layers of down feathers and fluffy socks, the cold still seemed to seep through my bones. The wind whipped my face, my eyes were watering and my tears froze as they fell. The temperature was -18 degrees and parts of the mountain were frozen, making it difficult to slide across the snow.

(L-R) My cousins making snow angels, a partially frozen brook, and my house in Fairfax, Vermont.

Our ski trip ended with us slipping down one mountain then returning to our cabin. When we returned to Connecticut, the winds weren’t as harsh, however it wasn’t much better.

A swamp is frozen solid in front of a Westport residential area.

Recently an artic cold outbreak has swept over the United States and is breaking thermometers with record low temperatures. This abnormal cold is causing sharks in Cape Cod to freeze from cold shock and stunned iguanas to fall from trees in Florida. So why are we suddenly experiencing daily temperatures below zero? Why is snow falling in usually sunny Georgia and Florida? The answer most likely has something to do with climate change.

Despite the cold, many people decide to take their dogs out for a walk at Compo Beach, Westport.

These recent cold snaps seem counterintuitive to the very basic idea of global warming, however scientists are certain that it relates to climate change.

“The changes in very persistent weak states [of the jet stream] actually contributed to cold outbreaks in Eurasia,” Marlene Kretschmer, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany said. “The bigger question is how this is related to climate change.”

As of now, scientists have attributed these cold snaps to the weakening of the jet stream, which allows cold air to break through the boundaries of warm air and escape southwards. However, scientists are still unsure of what the direct relation between the weakening of the wind streams and climate change is and are actively researching it.

Ducks swim alongside melting chunks of ice at Compo Beach, Westport.

The cold spell is slowly starting to melt away as the peak of winter passes by, however the reason for these unusual arctic outbreaks remains a mystery. And as winter transforms into spring, and spring rolls into summer, the temperatures will continue to rise as the earth continues to warm. Instead of penetratingly harsh winter conditions, we can look forward to blistering hot summer days and record high temperatures, so hot, we may even start to miss the cold.

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