More Mega-Snowstorms Coming -- Global Warming to Blame?
Get used to heavy U.S. snowstorms, scientists say. The cause, though, is a subject of hot debate.
(See "Freak Snowstorms: Fluke or Fuel in Global Warming Debate?")
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi says the recent snowstorms may be the start of a trend of cold, snowy winters similar to those of the 1960s and 1970s.
Bastardi, of the AccuWeather forecasting service in State College, Pennsylvania, believes the February record snowfalls, though, are due more to an El Niño that formed last year than to climate change.
An El Niño occurs when Pacific waters off the northwest coast of South America become unusually warm. The event is erratic and unpredictable, but it occurs roughly every three to seven years.
In a prepared statement, Bastardi noted that the current El Niño has been "very strong, prompting many major blizzards for the mid-Atlantic region."