Climate Change Brings Heat Waves and Cold Snaps

While climate change is usually associated with warming temperatures, new research indicates that the planet will experience heat waves as well as cold snaps in the coming years. About 97 percent of scientists, at this point, agree that the temperature of the planet is rising because of human-related activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
But until now, they didn’t know the degree of variability surrounding that increase, meaning the difference between hot and cold days from one year to the next. Prior studies focused on phenomenon like whether a par­tic­ular region would expe­ri­ence overall warming. But lead author Evan Kodra from Northeastern University and his team took a different approach, instead honing in on variability.
As described in the journal Nature, the researchers discovered that while global tem­per­a­ture is indeed increasing, so too is the vari­ability in tem­per­a­ture extremes. For instance, while each year’s average hottest and coldest tem­per­a­tures will likely rise, those aver­ages will also tend to fall within a wider range of poten­tial high and low tem­perate extremes than are cur­rently being observed. This means that even as overall tem­per­a­tures rise, we may still con­tinue to expe­ri­ence extreme cold snaps, Kodra said.