Rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and blazing forest fires are all key phrases commonly associated with global warming, and rightfully so. Throughout past decades, global climate has been on the rise, creating unprecedented and irregular weather patterns throughout the world. However, a warming planet leaves peril in more ways than one, a feat that Texans are now facing.
What is Happening in Texas?
Currently, Texas resides in the middle of a snowstorm, which is unlikely for its typically hot and humid climate. Despite several warnings of atypical weather changes by climate scientists, Texans were left ill-prepared for the snow and harsh weather which led to frozen power plants, power shortages in half the state, and a shutdown of water supply. Millions of citizens have been left to fend for themselves when it comes to heat and water in what Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, describes as “a disastrous level of under preparation.” As of February 18, it has been documented that Texas officials have done little for the people, giving inadequate responses, such as blaming the Green New Deal, despite it not yet being passed in Congress, or not giving a statement at all.
The Connection to Global Warming
Failures in infrastructure, poor planning by officials, and rejecting weather warnings are all contributions to the current situation in Texas, but what does it have to do with global warming? The lead-up to the environmental disaster is a foreshadowing of other potential extreme weather events. “The future is not going to be like the past,” Co-director of the Rand Climate Resilience Center, Melissa Finucane said in reference to the changing weather. In the current age, the preparation against harsh weather that was founded in the 20th century is not durable enough to withstand into 2021. Electrical grids in the US are incapable of keeping up with weather changes for much longer as climate change poses a larger threat to communities of all kinds.
Climate experts have gathered research connecting the snowstorm to global warming with rising Arctic temperatures. With the Arctic heating rapidly, cold air from the north pole can be pushed south, next to the US-Mexican border, proving that this is happening as a product of climate change, not in spite of it. Cold air is usually concentrated around the north pole in the polar vortex, which circulates in a tight formation during winter, though changes in the jet stream have since interfered. This change is thought to be due to the warming of the Arctic, letting air escape and shifting its position. If the vortex splits, snow and low temperatures become more common, explaining the fluctuation in Texas’ climate.
Plumer, Brad. “A Glimpse of America’s Future: Climate Change Means Trouble for Power Grids.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2021, www.nytimes.com/2021/02/16/climate/texas-power-grid-failures.html.
“Texas’ Frozen Power Grid Is a Preview of Climate Change Disasters to Come.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-power-outage-storm-climate-change/.
“Heating Arctic May Be to Blame for Snowstorms in Texas, Scientists Argue.” Google, Google, www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/17/arctic-heating-winter-storms-climate-change.