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Motherboard

A team of researchers led by MIT visiting scientist Judah Cohen has found that climate change is amplifying winter weather disasters, including the rare cold snap in Texas and other southern states in February 2021, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard. “The team used both observational data and climate models to expose ‘stretching events’ in the polar vortex that cause its circular shape to become elongated across the Arctic,” writes Ferreira. “This phenomenon ‘is linked with extreme cold across parts of Asia and North America.’”

The Guardian

A new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that climate change is likely causing more extreme winter weather, reports Hallie Golden for The Guardian. The researchers found that changes in the Arctic brought on by climate change “actually increased the chances of tightly spinning winds above the North Pole, known as the Arctic stratospheric polar vortex, being stretched and thus boosting the chances of extreme weather events in the US and beyond.”

New Scientist

New Scientist reporter Adam Vaughan writes that a new study led by visiting scientist Judah Cohen finds that climate change may be causing more extreme winter weather in North America and Eurasia. “If you expected global warming to help you out with preparing for severe winter weather, our paper says the cautionary tale is: don’t necessarily expect climate change to solve that problem for you,” says Cohen. “This is an unexpected impact from climate change that we didn’t appreciate 20 years ago.”

San Antonio Report

Visiting scientist Judah Cohen speaks with Lindsey Carnett of the San Antonio Report about whether climate change may have contributed to extreme winter weather in Texas. “As the Arctic gets warmer than [it normally is] – the risk of severe winter weather increases very linearly,” says Cohen. “When the Arctic is at its warmest, it’s a huge jump in the likelihood or the probability of getting severe winter weather to many eastern U.S. cities.”

Popular Mechanics

A new study by MIT researchers finds that St. Elmo’s Fire could help protect airplanes from lightning strikes, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. The researchers found that “the special kind of electrical charge can be used to place a protective and preemptive charge around airplanes in flight, and wind affects flying versus grounded vehicles in opposite ways.”

WGBH

Research affiliate Judah Cohen speaks with WGBH’s Edgar B. Herwick III about what distinguishes a Nor’easter, an extratropical cyclone powered by "strong differences in temperature," from other storms. As cold air from the Arctic meets warm water and air from the Gulf of Mexico, it creates “a very large temperature differential over a relatively short distance,” says Cohen. “And that temperature differential gives you the energy for these storms.”

CNN

In an article for CNN about the genesis of the term bomb cyclone, Brandon Miller notes how MIT researchers Fred Sanders and John Gyakum used the term to describe storms that strengthen rapidly. Miller explains that they “adjusted the ground rules to vary based on latitude. And they added the term ‘bomb’ because of the explosive power that these storms derive from rapid pressure drops.”

CBS News

A study by MIT researchers finds that climate change is causing pollution to linger longer over cities and making summer thunderstorms more powerful, reports Tanya Rivero for CBS News. “We found a way to connect changes in temperature in humidity from climate change to changing summer weather patterns that we are experiencing at our latitude,” explains graduate student Charles Gertler.

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News reporter Eric Roston writes that a new study by MIT researchers finds that climate change is making summer thunderstorms more powerful and urban pollution more potent. “Summertime weather isn’t ventilating American cities at the rate that it did in the past,” explains graduate student Charles Gertler.

Boston Globe

MIT researchers have found that climate change could cause more thunderstorms and stagnant air in the summer, reports Martin Finucane for The Boston Globe. “With temperatures rising globally, and particularly in the Arctic, the energy in the atmosphere is being redistributed,” writes Finucane. “The result is that more energy will be available to fuel thunderstorms.”

Xinhuanet

A new study by MIT researchers shows that the Sahara desert and North Africa alternate between wet and dry conditions every 20,000 years, reports the Xinhua news agency. The researchers found that the “climatic pendulum was mainly driven by changes to the Earth's axis as the planet orbits the sun, which in turn affect the distribution of sunlight between seasons.”

Atlas Obscura

A study by MIT researcher provides evidence that large-scale corn production in the U.S. impacts weather patterns, reports Eric J. Wallace for Atlas Obscura. “By increasing yields,” writes Wallace, “farmers have unintentionally created weather patterns that seem to be protecting their crops and helping them grow more corn.”

Quartz

Quartz reporter Zoë Schlanger writes that a new study by MIT researchers demonstrates how climate change can negatively impact a person’s mental health. The researchers found that “on average, the mental health of low-income people was most harmed by hotter temperatures. Women, on average, were also harmed more than men.” 

The Washington Post

In an article for The Washington Post, Beth Simone Noveck highlights RiskMap, an open-source platform developed by researchers from MIT’s Urban Risk Lab that allows users to gather and access information about disaster areas. Noveck writes that “RiskMap is a paradigmatic example of collective intelligence.”

Axios

A new study co-authored by researchers at MIT finds that, “human activities are altering Earth's seasons in a way that is creating a greater contrast between summer and winter in much of North America, Europe and Eurasia,” reports Andrew Freedman for Axios.