Dec 23, 2015

Why This May Be the Warmest Christmas of Your Lifetime

New York, NY
USA
by
Margaret Hartmann
,
New York Magazine
Children walk down Sixth Avenue wearing t-shirts on December 10, 2015. Photo: Andrew Burton/2015 Getty Images
Children walk down Sixth Avenue wearing t-shirts on December 10, 2015. Photo: Andrew Burton/2015 Getty Images

Just as Senator Inhofe's snowball did not actually disprove that humans are altering the Earth's climate, wearing shorts on Christmas Day in New York doesn't necessarily mean that we're hurtling toward our doom. Experts generally agree that the strong El Niño and the polar vortex are the main causes for our mild winter...

Some recent studies suggest that manmade climate change is increasing the strength and frequency of El Niño, but that link has not been established. Nevertheless, some believe the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be contributing to the milder weather. "In a nutshell, this month’s eastern warmth strikes me as the kind of dramatic event that one might expect in a strong El Niño, with record-warm temperatures at least a small bit higher as a result of the overall warming of our climate," Bob Henson, a meteorologist with Weather Underground, told Bloomberg. He said that if all the factors that contributed to December's unusually warm weather were sorted out, we'd likely find that the odds of an extremely warm month have increased. "So to that extent, you could say that this month is partially a result of climate change," he added. "But there’s no good way to estimate quantitatively how much a role the human factor played until you do the attribution study."