Snow at the Mauna Kea summit in Hawaii on Dec. 2, 2021. VOA News / YouTube screenshot
The Lower 48 states are set to see temperatures far above average for the next two weeks, and low snowpack levels in the Mountain West augur poorly for the region already experiencing widespread drought.
Even farther west, however, Hawaii is under a state of emergency as a winter storm dumped snow at higher elevations and more than a foot of rain at lower elevations, setting off flash flood warnings.
While impacts vary by region, warmer temperatures, more frequent and severe droughts, and more extreme precipitation events are all signals of climate change, which is primarily caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
As reported by The Washington Post:
In the absence of human influence, heat extremes and cold extremes would remain roughly balanced. Instead, a 2.5-to-1 ratio of daily hot versus cold records has been observed in the United States this year — 30,511 to 12,177, to be exact.
That preferential tendency toward heat extremes becomes even more marked globally, particularly when comparing all-time records. So far this year, 704 record high maximum temperatures have been recorded worldwide, and only 134 record lows. That’s more than a 5-to-1 ratio.
As the Earth continues to warm because of human activities, late-season heat and bizarre winter warm-ups will become increasingly common and greater in magnitude.
For a deeper dive:
Temperatures: The Washington Post; Snowpack: The Washington Post; Hawaii: NPR, E&E News, CBS, NBC, ABC, Gizmodo; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves, 2020-’21 Western drought, Extreme precipitation increase, Flooding