Two divergent stories are beginning to emerge about America’s snowfall. While one study showed that American snowfall might decline in the future, another found that the biggest snow-producers – extreme snowstorms – have increased. In fact, there have been twice as many extreme snowstorms in the past half century as there were in the preceding one. These findings seem to contradict one another, so how can they both be right?
The answer boils down to snow’s ingredients – water vapor and cold temperatures – and how our climate system influences them. Our planet’s rising thermostat has enabled the atmosphere to hold more water vapor, or “storm fuel”, and storms with exceptionally heavy precipitation have become more common as a result. When the air is cold enough, this precipitation falls as snow, which may explain why scientists have seen an increase of powerful snowstorms. However, a higher planetary temperature makes it harder for that precipitation to fall as snow, so a greater percentage of it falls as rain rather than snow. This explains why average snowfall can decrease even as heavy snowstorms become more common.
At least eight people are dead after a Cuban military plane crashed in western Cuba on Saturday.
Dangerous thunderstorms and flash flooding will continue to threaten lives and property across the central United States through Saturday night.
While a storm will douse outdoor plans and lead to flooding on some of the Hawaiian Islands, enough rain may fall to ease drought conditions into the start of May.
Milder air will erase the recent chill and snow across Germany by May Day, though rain threatens to spoil the holiday for western and southern areas.
Temperatures will be put on a roller coaster ride in the northeastern United States through the start of May, delivering bouts of summerlike warmth.
While the recent cold snap will be over, bouts of rain will persist and threaten to disrupt outdoor plans across the United Kingdom during the Bank Holiday weekend.
It will feel like the calendar has been turned back to winter instead of moving ahead to May as snow sweeps across the central United States into Monday.
A powerful earthquake shook the Philippines, bringing the threat for a tsunami near the epicenter of the quake.