The Age of Extreme Weather
This past week we saw some of the most extreme weather in our own country as well as across the ocean. This past week the Midwest of the U.S. experienced their coldest temperatures ever shattering records set January of 1985. Temperatures in Chicago and areas of the Midwest dipped to minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 degrees Celsius) with wind chill making it feel even colder. The northeast felt it a bit, although not as extreme, with temperatures dipping to negative two or three degrees Fahrenheit with wind chill. City officials in the Midwest sent out mobile warming centers for homeless people, hospitals opened up warming centers, and officials issued instructions on how to warm pipes so they don't freeze. Over twenty people have died due to the cold. Why is this happening? Research suggests that the warming Arctic is causing changes in the jet stream and pushing polar air down to latitudes that aren't prepared for them.
As for the warm weather, this past week (and continuing still) in Australia record high temperatures that are shutting down businesses and slowing down trains. With hazardously high temperatures at 166 degrees Fahrenheit (47 Celsius). This warm weather overloaded electrical grids and caused widespread power failures. Officials slowed and cancelled trams to try and save power. Wildfires raged in the heat, adding to the problems this heat is causing. Extreme heat can cause more problems than cold. It destroys the nutritional value of crops, coffee is in major danger as temperatures rise, and droughts make wildfires more common and harder to fight.
Extreme weather is becoming more and more common as time goes on and we need to try our best to be prepared.