Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Bomb Cyclone' Brings Freezing Weather as Grid Debate Intensifies

Energy
'Bomb Cyclone' Brings Freezing Weather as Grid Debate Intensifies
This data visualization shows very cold temperatures gripping large portions of North America on Jan. 1, 2018. The cold is a key ingredient in forming the "bomb cyclone" along the East Coast. NOAA

Temperatures continue in their second week of freezing lows in much of the U.S. as the Northeast braces for an intense "bomb cyclone" storm expected to hit Thursday.

Science studies and models report that the outbreak of arctic air bringing freezing temperatures to the lower U.S. is consistent with a warming planet, while researchers also report the conditions fueling the current bomb cyclone are consistent with trends linked to climate change that intensify nor'easters.


The extreme cold is ramping up use of energy across the U.S. days before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is set to rule on Energy Sec. Rick Perry's grid resiliency proposal that many consider a bailout to the coal and nuclear industries. While coal and nuclear representatives have ramped up lobbying efforts during the cold snap, representatives from Mid-Atlantic and Midwest grid overseers and utilities questioned by E&E reported no problems or load shortages thus far.

As reported by Axios:

"Advocacy groups representing different fuel types are battling it out ahead of a Jan. 10 deadline facing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent government agency, to decide what to do with an Energy Department proposal compensating coal and nuclear power plants for their ability to store fuel on site, which most other electricity types can't do. That rule's stated aim is to ensure a resilient electric grid, but the department's own data shows fuel diversity isn't the main problem, it's things like power lines going down during bad weather (including the winter storm hitting the East Coast)."

Bloomberg reported that "grid operators are finding it easier than ever to handle the adverse conditions—that is, 'thanks to an increasingly diverse electricity supply featuring more wind energy production,' said Evan Vaughan of the American Wind Energy Association.

For a deeper dive:

Weather: New York Times, Washington Post, AP, Mother Jones, Vox, Vice, Mashable, Wired, Michigan Public Radio, Louisville Courier-Journal, Earther. Energy: New York Times, Axios, Washington Examiner, Bloomberg, E&E. Commentary: Scientific American, Jeff Masters interview. Background: Climate Signals

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less