Is Global Warming the Reason Behind this Year’s Strange Winter?

By Merry Mayers

As we are well into spring, many New Yorkers are starting to reflect on the warm winter. During the most brutal days of winter in New York, temperatures may fall below zero, and the snow may accumulate up to twenty inches. Despite past statistics, the last few winters have been getting increasingly warmer with less and less snow, strongly supported by data from the recent and very strange winter of 2016-2017.

This past winter has been very unpredictable regarding both temperature and snowfall. This year we saw the latest snowfall since 1998. New York didn’t see the classic white fluff stick until January this year, which is very uncommon, as it usually starts snowing around late fall. Byram Hills barely even received two snow days, which were fortunately accompanied by a few morning delays. This certainly did not compare to the five or more days off due to raging snowstorms in years past. The singular winter snowstorm New York did bear this year was heavily overpredicted to receive twenty plus inches of snow when, in reality, we only received about seven inches. Many of Byram Hills’ students were very upset about the lack of snow days. Freshman Jacki Madden expresses her disappointment and says that “[she] was really hoping for more snow days this year. The best part about winter is looking forward to the sporadic days off from school, and Byram just didn’t get that this year.” In addition to the lack of snow, New York has seen strangely high temperatures, breaking the nearly 130-year-old record for having the highest temperature in January. On January 12th of this year, New York’s temperature reached 65 degrees, surpassing the record of 64 degrees, held since 1890.

Though having a “warm” winter may sound pleasing to many residents living in the Northeast who don’t particularly enjoy the freezing cold weather and slippery roads that come with winter, it raises a few questions to skeptical environmentalists. The controversial issue of global warming is heavily supported by the statistics of this recent winter, and it worries many that this will have a negative long-lasting toll on the planet’s future generations. As the temperatures continue to increase due to the “greenhouse effect,” in which human pollution of gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane are trapping heat and radiation in Earth’s atmosphere, the Arctic’s ice caps are melting. It was actually recorded that at the end of winter 2017, the Arctic has had the least amount of sea ice than ever before.

Though it is not certain that global warming is, in fact, the sole reason for the increased temperature and melting ice caps, taking more serious precautions to conserve the environment is a great step towards “undoing” mankind’s damage to the Earth’s atmosphere.