Snowstorms in China… what about global warming?

Snow blankets a forest in China | Image: National Geographic

Beautiful yet deadly. China’s worst snow in 50 years has already killed more than 65 people and delayed hundreds of thousands who wanted to get back for their only holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year. But it has also created beautiful scenes like the one above – evidence of the extraordinary power of nature to both kill and amaze.

The obvious question is “I thought the climate was getting hotter – why so much snow?” Climate change is a highly complex process, and ‘global warming’ can sometimes be a misleading term for this. (Click here for an interactive map of global warming effects)

One of the most noticeable effects of global warming will be more extreme weather – think of 2007: the California wildfires, the worst flooding in England since the 18th century, the water shortage in the southern US… it’s rapidly becoming clear that we ourselves will be the ones affected as the effects of climate change unfold before our eyes.

So although this individual storm in China is probably not climate change-related, events like this are likely to become far more common throughout this century. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires – even without wanting to be too much of a scaremonger, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for one wild century.

Just some of the hundreds of thousands who have been trapped by the snowstorms | Image: National Geographic