From: Jeremy Hance, Mongabay
Published December 27, 2009 07:44 AM

Record-breaking snow across the US and climate change

Over the past few weeks the United States has been pounded by a number of big snow storms. A week ago Washington DC received 18 inches of snow, setting a number of records. Over Christmas, the middle of the country, from Texas to Minnesota was also hit by record amounts of snow. While snow fall over the East Coast and middle of the country in the United States in December is hardly unusual, a number of record amounts of precipitation may point to a larger shift in the climate. Scientists say that higher temperatures causes more water evaporation, which increases the chances of heavy precipitation events, such as floods and snowstorms.


Oklahoma City hit a record with 14 inches of snow. Dallas-area received its first snowfall on Christmas Eve since records began in 1898. The snowfall also broke Christmas Eve records for Minnesota's Twin Cities by over two inches. Twenty-three people were killed so far due to the extreme weather across the middle of the country.

While scientists say that it is not possible to link a single extreme weather-event—such as one record snowfall—directly to climate change, a pattern of increased heavy precipitation is expected due to climate change in the US.

This image of the East Coast storm is from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite shows the Chesapeake Bay area on December 21. Photo by: Jesse Allen of NASA EArth Observatory.

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