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Arctic conditions show climate change is here


Guest.jpg Sometimes it seems like politicians won’t support climate action until hell — or Texas — freezes over. After last month, the climate threat is clear as can be, and it’s time for Congress to act.

On Feb. 13, a winter storm began sweeping across the U.S. Within days, the frigid conditions and ensuing infrastructure challenges led to dozens of deaths, massive power outages and millions without drinking water. Texas came within minutes of catastrophic failures that could have caused month-long blackouts. Here in Oregon, ice caused chaos and cut power and heat to 300,000 homes and businesses in the Portland area.

Typically, a strong jet stream keeps Arctic air locked over the poles. As variability in our climate increases, the Arctic air warms, the jet stream weakens and frigid air dips down into lower latitudes. Climate scientists have explained that the large, persistent, southward dip in the jet stream responsible for this cold invasion is likely to happen more frequently in a warming climate.

As this pattern persists, we will continue to deal with challenges such as power outages and unsafe or limited drinking water — life-threatening conditions in the wake of extreme weather itself. While some politicians tried to place […]

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