What is the role of climate change?

Posted on December 28, 2022

Although the Americans have already been fighting the “blizzard of the century” for a week, Europe is breaking records for mildness. France had its second mildest Christmas since measurements began and further temperature anomalies are expected to be measured again next weekend. While the link between climate change and these heat waves has been proven several times, the one with cold waves continues to be questioned by researchers.

The Blizzard of the Century that hit the United States brought with it its share of comments questioning the reality of climate change, with some not shying away from evoking “climate cooling.” Americans have been suffering from a severe winter storm for a week and have already killed more than 60 people.

Something we will never see again in our lifetime.

London was hotter than Miami on Christmas Day. pic.twitter.com/nQXEvpULN7

— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) December 26, 2022

Some people were found dead in their cars or outside, while others died of heart attacks while trying to clear snow. Tens of millions of Americans saw the Christmas weekend cause chaos at airports with massive power outages, impassable roads and thousands of canceled flights.

The second sweetest Christmas

In contrast, France had a particularly mild Christmas on December 25, with a national average temperature of 11.3°C, prompting many happy reactions. Météo France meteorologist François Gourand told AFP that France had indeed “experienced the second sweetest Christmas since the index began in 1947”. The mildest Christmas on record to date is still 1997 at 11.7°. “11.3° is an anomaly of 5.5° above normal on a national scale, which is quite enough, which means that in detail yesterday there were local values ​​close to 10° above normal or even a little more,” he stressed.

[Thread] I’ve been getting messages praising the mildness of this winter: it’s nice and saves energy.
From this anthropocentric perspective, they ignore impacts on agriculture and ecosystems. Overview of positive and negative resultspic.twitter.com/YIDPmZLSAQ

— Dr. Serge Zaka (Dr. Zarge) (@SergeZaka) December 26, 2022

If we average December 24th and 25th, the meteorologist believes that the record could be broken: “I think that the average of the two days we are at an unprecedented level of mildness for this time of the year.” This mildness is explained by the flow that brings mild air masses to the country. “These weather patterns are not exceptional in themselves, but now the air masses coming from the south are always a bit warmer,” said François Gourand.

“A yet-to-be-confirmed link to cold waves”

Météo France said in early December that regardless of December temperatures, 2022 would be the warmest year on record in France since measurements began in 1900. A symptom of climate change. However, although it is clear that this leads to more frequent and intense heat waves, “the connection between climate change and cold waves is more difficult (…) and is still an active area of ​​research”, explains Davidad Faranda, climatologist. In a blog post published Dec. 27 in CNRS.

“It is clear that climate change has a significant impact on our planet’s weather, including extreme events such as heat waves and cold waves. While the specific role of climate change in cold waves is still debated, it is likely that climate change plays an important role in the intensity and frequency of these events. He cites several studies showing that human influence on climate change increases the likelihood of extreme cold events in the United States.

If conditions gradually improve in the United States, we’ll still be in for a particularly mild weekend in France for year-end celebrations. “On December 31, temperatures can reach 14-18°C in the North and 15-22°C in the South, an anomaly above +8°C: one of the worst anomalies in more than a century. “, agroclimatologist Serge Zak wrote in his tweet. It’s really not something to be happy about.

Relative decrease #temperatures this tuesday will be short lived. Indeed, this weekend will breathe new life into France and all of Western Europe. #records of sweetness. We will be 7-8°C above average in France! pic.twitter.com/jEdP26tIFy

— The Weather Channel (@lachainemeteo) December 26, 2022

Concepcion Alvarez @conce1 with AFP

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