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‘When Texas freezes over:’ Arctic conditions in U.S. show climate change is here


Sometimes it seems like certain politicians won’t support climate action until hell — or Texas — freezes over. Well after last week, 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 clean water. Texas came within minutes of catastrophic failures that would have caused monthslong blackouts.

Friends of mine recently retired and moved to Austin, Texas, from Rockford to get away from the cold weather and to get back to family that lives there. What they didn’t expect was a winter storm, loss of power and seven inches of snow. Yikes!

So, why is this all happening? Typically, a strong jet stream keeps Arctic air locked over the poles. But as we see more variability in our climate and Arctic air warms, the jet stream weakens, gets wavy, and allows frigid air to dip down into lower latitudes.

“The large, persistent, southward dip in the jet stream responsible for this cold invasion is likely to happen more frequently in a warming climate,” climate scientist Jennifer […]

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