California’s unprecedented heat wave and drought (“First six months of the year were the warmest in California history,” July 22) is yet another unmistakable wake-up call to the increasing risks of climate change.
A NASA-funded study, conducted at Utah State University and published in the May issue of Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that the California drought and intensely cold winters in the Great Lakes region are connected. They are both the result of a continental weather pattern called a “dipole.”
The dipole affects our weather by causing a persistent high-pressure region to form off the Pacific coast that blocks storm systems from reaching California. The model shows that the dipole pattern is powered by global warming and predicts that its effect will get stronger as more carbon dioxide continues to build up in the atmosphere.
The carbon dioxide we put in the air today will stay there for centuries. If we don’t drastically reduce our CO2 output quickly, we are condemning future generations to ever-increasing costs and dangers like California’s drought.
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