Climate change bringing less snow, more blizzards

shovel full of snowIf climate change is heating the planet and shrinking the length and overall severity of winters, why has the United States been slammed by blizzards of epic proportions this year? The heavy bursts of snowfall are, in fact, the result of a warmer atmosphere.

Paul Douglas, founder and meteorologist at Weather Nation, a national weather cable channel based in Excelsior, Minn., says that even though the hemisphere isn’t receiving as much bitter air, “when it does snow, because it’s warmer, warm air can hold more water vapor, kind of like a sponge soaking up moisture. We can get more intense snowfalls.”

According to an upcoming study on extreme weather, the United States has experienced twice as many of the most extreme snowstorms in the past 50 years as in the previous six decades. Yet the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University reports that spring snow cover has shrunk by 1 million square miles in the past 45 years.

“Shorter snow season, less snow overall, but the occasional knockout punch. That’s the new world we live in,” Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer told The Associated Press.

Given that, mattress makers and industry suppliers need to plan for increasingly severe bouts of winter weather. For instance, have the roof of every facility inspected to be certain that it can support heavy snow loads. Also be sure that you have plans—and necessary supplies—for sheltering employees at factories and offices if severe weather comes up quickly and they can’t get home.

With the mattress industry’s emphasis on just-in- time manufacturing, companies can be devastated if bad weather stops production for even a few days. Have contingency plans in place to deal with weather- related stoppages or slowdowns so that customers don’t feel the impact. .

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