Researchers Linking Climate Change to Drought and Drastic Weather in Real Time

A new study, which pushes the boundaries in "one of the hottest topics in climate science" according to one scientist, claims that connections can be made between climate change in both California's state-wide drought and the polar vortex blamed for the most recent winter's harsh extremes in parts of the United States.

Specifically, drought monitors say that the entire state of California is in an official drought, while the country is only now emerging from a bizarre winter in which parts of the Midwest and East experienced severe cold, while it remained dry and warm in the west.

How is this happening? Utah State University scientists say that an unusual "dipole" is to blame. A dipole is a mix of strong Western high pressure ridges and a deep Great Lakes low pressure trough.

Led by climate scientist Simon Wang, the study applied computer simulations, physics and historical data to make a connection between El Nino—that crazy weather phenomenon that shakes up global climate every few years—to cold water off the Chinese coast. Colder water lead to westerly winds in the Pacific, which continue for months on end and eventually lead to El Nino.

The controversial study is being published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It is not the first study to link unusual activity to bizarre weather, it is the first to identify a potential tool—El Nino—for researchers to use in order to predict the coming of weird weather across the country, and to do it in real time.

Photo: Live Science