Makaela Patten, Staff Writer

As many of you have noticed, the weather in the East Coast this season hasn’t been as cold as it was last year (or for a number of years, for that matter). In fact, this has been a repeating pattern in the weather world, each year being slightly warmer than the one before it. Some might say that this is because of Global Warming, while others say it is the effect of natural causes. Could this phenomenon be a result of both?

Environmental Science teacher Mrs. Bhandari believes that this record-breaking-winter is all due to global warming. “The recent wild fires breaking out all over in the south release Carbon Dioxide and other particulate matter into the atmosphere where it traps heat,” says Bhandari. Things like emissions from vehicles and the burning of fossil fuels also contribute to this. She also added in that the excessive use of water, heat, and travel over the holiday season could be playing into the warmer temperature. Mrs. Bhandari believes that “We all need to be more responsible.” She says that doing simple things like taking shorter showers, planting more trees, and using less electricity could benefit the Earth overall if everyone could pitch in. She continued by saying that “We need to hold our politicians accountable… some of the people being appointed don’t believe in Global Warming… they don’t think we are doing this… we need to make sure we do our part.”

Now, what about the natural causes of this drastic climate change? Meteorologists believe that this is due to two things: The Arctic Oscillation trapping cold air in the North and a very strong occurrence of El Nino. On their own, they would change the weather by a couple of degrees; together, they can produce a T-shirt-worthy winter. The Arctic Oscillation is a stream of wind that runs above Alaska and Canada. When there is an exceptionally strong Arctic Oscillation the cold air is completely trapped in the Arctic, instead of seeping down to the southern states like it usually does. El Nino is a climate event that occurs when the Pacific Ocean’s temperatures rise along the equator, bumping everything around the globe up by a couple of degrees. El Nino is particularly strong in the United States due to the warm air being pushed up from the Pacific. This weather change could be because of either of these, global warming or natural causes, or be the result of both. All we know for sure is that this is not the last you will be seeing of this wintertime fracas.