Another Huge Winter Storm Bears Down on the Southeast

The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 12 2014 12:32 PM

Southeast U.S. Battered by Another Winter Storm

Holy cow. NASA released an image taken by the GOES-East Earth-observing satellite, from 1:15 p.m. Eastern time yesterday (Feb. 11, 2014):

snowstorm hits the southeast
Cold enough for you? Click to enprecipitate.

Photo by NASA/NOAA

This storm will break records and will probably be the worst seen in at least a decade. It's certainly worse than what hit the southeast in January. I hope everyone in the affected areas stays safe and has plenty of supplies stored up.

Advertisement

Bizarre weather just seems to happen over and again, doesn’t it? Heat waves in Alaska and Greenland, an incredibly frigid Arctic “polar vortex” dropping down into the Midwest, unusually warm Arctic temperatures, persistent drought in California, catastrophic flooding in Boulder, Colo., brutal heat waves in Australia, huge storms battering the U.K., a record-breaking typhoon in the Philippines.

It's important to note that this particular storm hitting the southeast U.S. cannot be pinned on climate change—after all, storms like this do occur every 10 years or so. Of course, that hasn’t stopped some deniers from falsely claiming winter disproves global warming. It’s winter, cold snaps happen. This storm doesn’t disprove global warming any more than it getting dark at night disproves the existence of the Sun.

But the extreme weather we’re seeing all over the planet, seemingly everywhere we look, is very telling. Even for those, any single event or another may not be caused in its entirety by climate change (though the severity may be). But extreme weather is just what we expect in a warming world. The dice are loaded.

Time will tell, I suppose. But at some point, not too long from now, we’ll look behind us and see all the patterns pointing to how much global warming has affected the planet. I hope by then it's not too late to stop it.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.