Warmer Falls Signal Definitive Climate Change

Kenneth Dixon STEM Jan 27, 2022

This previous fall season was marked by its usual seasonal changes and regular festivities, but also with abnormally warm temperatures. As you may have noticed, the temperatures this fall, and even leading into winter, were considerably warmer than is normal for this time of year, failing to drop below freezing, save a few sporadic instances. This difference in climate isn't merely the result of an El Nino (a climatic event that causes warmer than normal water temperatures in the Pacific, and thus a warmer climate) but instead is the result of global climate change.

The past fall has been the fourth warmest in our 142-year record of the global climate, with the three warmest all occurring within the last six years. This imbalance of years in which warmer autumns occur is highly suggestive that our earth’s climate is continually getting warmer. If the climate was maintaining a constant temperature, the hottest falls might have occurred at seemingly random intervals. However, they have all occurred within a time period each and every one of us can still recall. These changes aren’t merely numbers on a graph either. It is now physically observable to the average person who walks outside on an unusually warm November or December day. 2021 may have also been even warmer than we perceived it to be, as a La Nina event occurred throughout the fall and winter of 2021. A La Nina causes colder Pacific waters, and as a result, a colder overall global climate. Yet in spite of this, the fall of 2021 has still been one of Earth’s warmest, potentially meaning that it could have been substantially warmer in the absence of a La Nina, and potentially even the warmest fall in history.

These warmer years may soon cease to mean warmer temperatures alone, but also meteorological events such as tornadoes. While there is no definitive proof of this yet, data is certainly suggestive that climate change is causing such events. The number of tornadoes recorded in the United States has increased dramatically since the year 1950. However, this may only be due to the fact that today’s technology can record far more tornadoes than could be recorded with older technology because as technology improves, more tornadoes can be detected that would have slipped through the grasp of archaic technology. What is definitive though, is that the pattern in which tornadoes occur is changing, as large groups of tornadoes occurring within small areas and over small time intervals are becoming far more common than in the past. According to meteorologist Howard Brooks from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the pattern of tornado clusters is clearly indicating that the earth's atmosphere has changed, and it “may be related to climate change, but we cannot make a full conclusion.”

To summarize, it is no longer deniable that the Earth’s climate is changing at an exponential rate, which soon may cause danger to each and every one of its inhabitants. Weather events far more dangerous or far larger than tornadoes may begin to occur within the near future, as warmer climates are believed to make extreme meteorological events more likely, and possibly even more destructive.


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