Snowmageddon has become something of an annual tradition. Barely a year goes by without someone, somewhere, finding themselves on the receiving end of a severe snowstorm. The latest unlucky people, of course, are the inhabitants of New York.

Given that the world is getting steadily warmer as a result of man-made climate change, this strikes many people as pretty weird. Surely we should not be seeing so many extreme snowstorms if the world is getting warmer?

One response, which arrives almost without fail after a heavy snowfall, is the claim that climate change is a myth. But even if you accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real, the snowfall still looks puzzling. Maybe the world just hasn’t got warm enough to melt all the snow yet?

The real answer is rather surprising. Extreme snowfall is actually an expected consequence of a warmer world.


In other words, snowy weather may indeed become less common in future, and the season during which snow falls might become shorter, but snowmageddons might still be roughly as common as they are today.


Source: Colin Barras,