"Expect the unexpected"; Researcher says climate change may be cooling California
""It's what I call global weirding," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "This has been a very strange year all over the planet."
What's going on?
First of all, this spring's weather is not unprecedented, just uncommon. California has had wet, cold spring weather before, notably in 1983, a year that produced record Sierra snows.
This year, the blame falls on a complex interaction between La Niña and another phenomenon called a negative Arctic oscillation, Patzert and others said.
One theory gaining traction is that climate change, in fact, may be to blame.
The theory was developed in several published papers by Judah Cohen, an atmospheric scientist in Massachusetts.
Cohen argues that ice melt in the Arctic has produced more snowfall across Siberia. All that snow creates a giant cold air mass that diverts the jet stream, contributing to the negative Arctic oscillation.
Colder and snowier winters caused by global warming? It may be one of the counterintuitive consequences of climate change, he said.
"We don't understand everything, and we don't understand how the different feedbacks affect different parts of the climate system," said Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, a private firm in Lexington, Mass. "It's very complicated. So we should expect the unexpected."