Although spring officially began last week, there is talk of even more snow for the northeast. Climate scientists believe that the lack of Arctic sea ice is to blame for the unseasonably cold winter and late start of spring.
The lack of Arctic sea ice is caused by global warming—a gradual increase in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere due to increased levels of pollutants. The decreased levels of sea ice alter circulation in the atmosphere and lead to more snow. Without a proper amount of ice covering, Arctic wind is not constrained. Because of this, the band of strong air currents surrounding the globe, the jet stream, cold air from the Arctic is carried closer to the Equator. The open ocean, once covered by Arctic ice, allows more moisture into the atmosphere that freezes and falls to the earth as snow. Hence, the cold weather so many dread, creeps into the spring and makes for a longer winter.
In 2012, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested that low sea ice and increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could also lead to warmer summers.
Arctic sea ice was not expected to melt until the end of the century, however if recent trends continue, the ice could be gone in a decade or two.
Whether you believe in global warming or not, there is no doubt the weather that has been bombarding the United States is extreme. In Hopatcong, students and teachers alike are looking forward to the end of freezing temperatures and never-ending snow days. Why not consider recycling plastic, metal, and glass, and conserving water to cut back on the significant amount of energy required to manufacture items from scratch, and purify and distribute water- each of which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions?
If you do your part to decrease the amount of pollution that enters the atmosphere each year, maybe—just maybe—winter will once again be a bearable season.