Expert: Climate Extremes Such As Amarillo’s October Snow Record On Track With Changing Climate

Early snow in Amarillo breaks record, but does climate change have anything to do with it?

Pitch

Early snow in Amarillo breaks record, but does climate change have anything to do with it?

Expert

Katharine Hayhoe, associate professor and one of the new directors of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech

Talking Points

  • This morning, Amarillo awoke to about 2.5 inches of snow on the ground, which is considerably more than the average .3 inches in October. The record, 2.4 inches, was recorded in 1911.
  • Unusual weather events happen all the time and are part of the natural climate condition.
  • However, unusual weather frequency is changing. Longer, hotter dry spells and more extreme rain events have become more common, in part because of climate change.

Quotes

  • “In the last 4 years we have had the coldest winter and warmest summer on record in the same year. We’ve also had the longest period of consecutive dry days ever recorded, the most severe drought ever recorded and two, not one but two, record rain events.”
  • “We can't say how much climate change contributed to any of these, as they could have all occurred naturally. But we do know two things: Climate change has altered the background conditions over which these events occur, and more frequent extremes are consistent with the way climate is changing around the world.”

{Editor’s Note: Hayhoe and other Texas Tech University experts will discuss climate challenges West Texas faces at a community forum held at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 in the International Cultural Center on the Texas Tech campus.}