MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Inevitably, when the weather turns brutally cold, someone will ask, “What happened to global warming?”
On Monday night, President Donald Trump tweeted about the Midwest’s bitter blast.
So, how can it be so cold as the planet heats up? Good Question.
“We can have a long term trend towards warming and we can get still get these episodes of really cold air,” said Senior State Climatologist Kenny Blumenfeld. “We’ll still get them and we always will, but the frequency of really severe cold has already changed and will continue to change.”
Blumenfeld says it’s important to distinguish between the short-term weather conditions and the long-term climate trends.
“Weather is what’s in your wallet today and climate is your whole financial portfolio,” says Blumenfeld. “Those are two very different things.”
According to NASA, 17 of the last 18 years have been the Earth’s warmest on record. According to state records, Minnesota winters are five degrees warmer since 1970.
“That’s a lot warming, and most of that warming has been at night when it’s coldest,” says Blumenfeld.
Blumenfeld also points out the cold snap in the Midwest is just one part of the world. While Minnesota is experiencing near-record wind chills, the temperatures in Anchorage are 10 to 15 degrees above average.
“We are definitely not the only weather game in town,” he said. “The story doesn’t begin and end with us, there’s more happening than what’s in our backyard.”
Minnesota weather is known for its extremes, which is why weather experts say that just as a few cold days in the winter don’t disprove climate change, a few hot in the summer days don’t prove it.
“That doesn’t change the overall story that most years are warmer than they used to be,” Blumenfeld said.