Don’t let the recent snowfalls fool you; global warming is undeniable. In midwinter, climate change means that snowfalls will increase because the atmosphere can hold 4 percent more moisture for every 1°F increase in temperature. 2020 was the hottest year on record, tied with 2016, the previous record holder. “The last seven years have been the warmest seven years on record, typifying the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Whether one year is a record or not is not really that important. The important things are long-term trends. With these trends, and as the human impact on the climate increases, we have to expect that records will continue to be broken.”
Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted, and trees are flowering sooner. Effects that scientists predicted would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves.