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Claim: The number of blizzards has DOUBLED in the past 20 years – ‘Global warming’ & sunspots blamed

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3416269/The-number-blizzards-DOUBLED-past-20-years-Scientists-blame-global-warming-sunspots-rise-storms.html

The number of blizzards has DOUBLED in the past 20 years: Scientists blame global warming and sunspots for rise in storms
From 1960-94, the US had an average of nine blizzards per year
But since 1995, the annual average has risen to 19, recent study found
More blizzards are forming outside normal season of October to March
One explanation is the use of better methods to record severe storms
By ELLIE ZOLFAGHARIFARD FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
PUBLISHED: 15:22 EST, 25 January 2016 | UPDATED: 18:51 EST, 25 January 2016

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Blizzards, like the one that battered the East Coast this weekend, have doubled in number over the past 20 years.
From 1960-94, the US had an average of nine blizzards per year. Since 1995, that annual average has risen to 19.
And it’s not just their frequency that’s increasing. More blizzards are forming outside the normal storm season of October to March, scientists have found.
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Blizzards, like the one that battered the East Coast this weekend, have doubled in number over the past 20 years. From 1960-94, the US had an average of nine blizzards per year. Pictured is 42nd Street in the Friendship Heights neighborhood during a major blizzard in Washington DC this weekend
Blizzards, like the one that battered the East Coast this weekend, have doubled in number over the past 20 years. From 1960-94, the US had an average of nine blizzards per year. Pictured is 42nd Street in the Friendship Heights neighborhood during a major blizzard in Washington DC this weekend
In the past two decades, there have been three more blizzards per year from April to September compared to 1960-94.
This is according to research – which has yet to be peer-reviewed – by scientist Jill Coleman at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
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A blizzard is catergorised as a storm that has sustained winds of 35 mph and visibility of one-quarter mile or less. These conditions have to persist for at least three hours.
According to USA Today, one reason for the dramatic rise could be from better reporting and monitoring of the storms.
In the past two decades, there have been three more blizzards per year from April to September compared to 1960-94. This is according to research, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, by geographer Jill Coleman at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Pictured is New York in the aftermath of storm Jonas
In the past two decades, there have been three more blizzards per year from April to September compared to 1960-94. This is according to research, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, by geographer Jill Coleman at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Pictured is New York in the aftermath of storm Jonas
Sunspot cycles may also be to blame, with blizzards increasing in periods when sunspot activity has diminished. Sunspot activity occurs in 11-year cycles and is currently at a low point
Sunspot cycles may also be to blame, with blizzards increasing in periods when sunspot activity has diminished. Sunspot activity occurs in 11-year cycles and is currently at a low point
But there may be other explanations.
Coleman claims sunspot cycles may also be to blame, with blizzards increasing in periods when sunspot activity has diminished.
Sunspot activity occurs in 11-year cycles and is currently at a low point.
HUMANS ARE TO BLAME FOR RECORD TEMPERATURES
Blizzards are the only thing increasing as a result of human-induced climate change, say scientists.
Since the start of the new millennium, the world has experienced a succession of the warmest years on record.
Scientists say it is extremely likely these unprecedented high global temperatures have been caused by human emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
It comes just days after Nasa confirmed 2015 was the hottest year on record, with temperatures rising 1.8°F (1°C) above those seen before industrialisation.
The latest study by the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany claims it is ‘extremely unlikely’ that 13 of the 15 hottest years to have occurred since records began 150 years ago would happen since 2000 due to natural variability.
This, they said, suggests it is 600 to 130,000 times more likely than not that human activities and their influence on the climate have caused this record breaking run of hot weather.
Sunspots are dark areas on the sun that are caused by interactions with the sun’s magnetic field.
Scientists don’t fully understand them, but they can generate huge eruptions on the solar surface, releasing solar radiation towards Earth.
‘Sunspot-minimum periods tend to coincide with more frequent polar outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere that could increase the likelihood for blizzard occurrence,’ Coleman told ABC News.
‘However, sunspot activity is only a small component in explaining the frequency of blizzard occurrence.’
Another cause for the increasing number of blizzards may be human-induced climate change.
Michael Mann, Director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center told ThinkProgress there is researchers suggest climate change making blizzards more frequent and more intense.
‘There is peer-reviewed science that now suggests that climate change will lead to more of these intense, blizzard-producing nor’easters, for precisely the reason we’re seeing this massive storm — unusually warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures (temperatures are in the 70s off the coast of Virginia),’ he said
When you mix extra moisture with ‘a cold Arctic outbreak (something we’ll continue to get even as global warming proceeds)….you get huge amounts of energy and moisture, and monster snowfalls, like we’re about to see here.’
This weekend’s blizzard Jonas ropped snow from the Gulf Coast to New England, with near-record snowfalls tallied from Washington, D.C. to New York City.
At least 37 deaths were blamed

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3416269/The-number-blizzards-DOUBLED-past-20-years-Scientists-blame-global-warming-sunspots-rise-storms.html#ixzz3yMg6lGCs
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