Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
While I have seen many letters both pro and con regarding global warming, none seems to get to the root cause of the cold air hitting the Northeast United States.
In our first Arctic, the North Pole is in the middle of thousands of square kilometers of ice. Unlike the Antarctic, the Arctic has no land and is just a large mass of floating ice, but the effect this has on weather is extremely important to conditions in the northern hemisphere. With a good ice covering as in pre-global warming and even up until the last decade the cold ice tended to have a jet stream that would go around it in a circular motion. This would keep the trade winds and jet streams fairly reliably going through Canada and temperature remained relatively constant year after year.
When the ice pack started melting due to excessive greenhouse gases, there was no longer the great temperature differential between the cold ice and warmer waters in the south to contain the cold polar air. This has allowed the jet stream to move hundreds of miles south, which is causing the extremely cold weather in the northeastern United States along with a drought in the western United States. The albedo or reflectiveness of the ocean is far less than the ice it’s replacing. In simpler terms, the ocean surface soaks up heat from the sun while ice reflects it. This becomes a force multiplier and makes things that much worse. This was predicted in Scientific American and other publications long ago before it happened. As a geophysical science honors student, I studied this in detail when I was younger.
The people who deny global warming exists are ridiculous and assuming that the northeastern U.S. signifies an overall cooling as the United States as a whole is hotter and drier. Europe is getting some of the same cold weather because the warm Gulf stream that goes from the Gulf of Mexico to the coast of Europe is also passing south allowing cold Arctic air to cause record cold temperatures in parts of Europe. We are at a tipping point where catastrophic conditions are bound to occur even with the most stringent climate control measures. That’s why it is so important to ignore the minority whose self interests and talking points are shoddy at best.
The fact that the oil companies are actually excited at the prospect of using an ice free Northwest passage to drill more oil from the Arctic and move it with tankers adds insult to injury. While the U.S. has enacted certain standards since the BP spilling, other countries along the Gulf of California are drilling deeper and deeper into the lower Tertiary layers up to 20,000 feet below sea level. With the bottom of the well being 10,000 feet down no technology currently exists to fix a broken wellhead.
I encourage you doubters to get online and seek out these answers for yourself.