Are Winters Like This Year's a Dying Breed?
The winter of 2013-2014 may have been unusually long, cold and harsh compared to recent years but we shouldn't get used to it, a new study says. That's because milder winters with fewer extremes may be more likely in the future thanks to the rapid warming of the Arctic.
Published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, the study says that despite fears that global warming might lead to more cold weather extremes in places like North America – much-discussed during this winter's "polar vortex" – we're actually seeing the number of extremely cold weather days fall, not rise.
Screen found that winds that blow out of the Arctic from the north – they're responsible for the blasts of cold air that bring winter weather extremes in the U.S. – are warming up faster than winds that blow warmer air in from the south.
That reduces the difference in temperature between the two, which leads to less extreme weather and fewer extremely cold days, Screen told Mashable. "You're kind of taking the edge off of your cold extremes," he said.