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Study: Last Winter's Freeze may be Linked to Climate Change

5/24/2014 9:18:18 AM

Global warming may bear some of the blame for last winter's freeze, a study shows.

A global-warming-induced buildup of warm water in the Pacific Ocean may be linked to a disruption of the jet stream that blew cold winds from the Arctic across the U.S., according to the study, published May 22 in the journal Science.

Pacific Ocean. (Credit: Flickr/Don McCollough)

"People's reaction when they sit under 10 feet of snow is to say, 'This cannot be man-made climate change,'" said professor Tim Palmer of Oxford University, the study's author. "But there is a plausible link."

The finding differs from other theories about what caused the Arctic freeze, a period of unusually cold temperatures in the U.S. in January.

Martin Hoerling of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the most likely explanation was that last winter's cold snap was simply a "freak of nature" (Alister Doyle, Reuters, May 22).

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202-628-6500.

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