Snowy spring?

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BLACKSBURG, Va., March 16 – Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus delayed its spring break opening following a snowstorm. Photo: Alexis L. Walsh

 

by Alexis Leianna Walsh–-

The fourth nor’easter for the month of March is expected to extend into the first full week of spring. Should one be concerned about what the late snow could mean for the state of our environment?

Kellie O’Grady, a junior Meteorology student at Virginia Tech, explained, that the recent snow has been happening due to low pressure systems that form near the East Coast of the United States. She described that there is moisture coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and some colder air moving in from Canada.

O’Grady stated, “The difference between the colder air and the warmer air causes an instability, causing air to rise, while the moisture coming from the air in the Gulf of Mexico leads to the snow that we have been seeing.”

According to the Environment Virginia Research and Policy Center’s website, for decades, scientists in the commonwealth and across the United States have warned people that if pollution continues in the direction it has been going, global warming will bring unpredictable and dangerous weather.

Dave Carroll, a Master Instructor of Meteorology for the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech, explained that there have been “hints” relating some of the big East Coast snowstorms to the current state of warming in our atmosphere.

Carroll stated, “Twenty years from now we will have a much better handle on the effects of the most recent storms; however what people need to realize right now is that a warming climate supports more frequent storms and makes similar storms more likely to happen in the future.”

According to the National Weather Service’s website, the science behind global warming begins with the burning of fossil fuels. When fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and/or gas are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the air––creating pollution. Carbon pollution then builds up in the atmosphere, where it traps heat from the sun, causing the earth’s temperature to rise, which triggers a variety of mostly negative results for Virginia and the planet.

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BLACKSBURG, Va., March 16 – Dave Carroll works as a Master Instructor of Meteorology for the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech. Photo: Alexis L. Walsh