Blizzards, Sunspots and Climate Change


Yesterday, the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported on the blizzard that just last week hit a long, long stretch of the east coast of the United States, a blizzard called by many, "the storm of the century."  The opening sentence of the article reported that blizzards "have doubled in number over the past twenty years."  The piece goes on to say that "it's not just their frequency that is increasing.  More blizzards are forming outside the normal storm season of October to March."


What do the experts say about this phenomenon? Jill Coleman, a geographer, has done some preliminary research.  USA Today says that according to her  "there's a chance the increase in blizzards could be tied to sunspot cycles...during periods of low sunspot activity."  "Sunspots are dark areas on the sun caused by interactions with the sun's magnetic fields" according to the Daily Mail.  The paper goes on to say that some scientists believe that human-induced climate change may be to blame.


In no. 19 of Laudato Si, Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change says, "Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening in the world into our own personal suffering and thus discover what each of us can do about it."


Knowing something about blizzards, sunspots and climate change gives us information to discern our response to the unusual weather patterns we are experiencing.

Veronica Blake