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How climate change affected Texas

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Photo via Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Mother Nature can be insane. Sometimes the unexpected happens and we don’t know why. As for the recent crazy climate in Texas, we might have a solid reason behind it. It's bound to get cold in winter; cold fronts happen naturally. However, Dallas went from an astonishing -2° to 75° overnight. The most logical and reasonable explanation for this weather is simple: climate change.

We all learned about climate change in our 7th Grade environmental science classes, but how exactly are this connected to the Texas climate? As time goes on, and our climate worsens, these sorts of environmental anomalies are assured to happen more and more. This instance of Texas’s extreme cold is the result of the Polar Vortex resurfacing. The Polar Vortex is an area of cold air surrounding the Earth's poles. Normally, the cold air stays up in the Arctic, but in some cases, it's weakened, and the cold air comes out. While the correlation between these two isn’t solid, it's a possible cause.

The cause for the supposed weakening of the Polar Vortex is arctic warming, something many of us are familiar with. Deforestation, fossil fuels, and farming all act as catalysts for an increase in temperatures. It's these activities that increase greenhouse gasses and work to weaken things like the Polar Vortex. It's important to remember that climate change doesn’t only mean warm weather—it means cold weather too. The mindset of climate change being only warm weather leads to officials being careless. With more precautions about events like these, the outcome could’ve been entirely different. With our current resources, scientists and officials are able to see upcoming weather changes over 10 days beforehand. By building power plants and lines with more strength and resiliency, many issues could have been avoided.

Texas had some sort of a warning, but didn’t take advantage of it. The result of this was devastating for its residents. Many were snowed in, and left without vital resources to live on. Dozens had to be treated for hypothermia, and Houston was put under a boil water advisory. A boil water advisory means all water is unsafe, and needs to be boiled before use. Without power, hundreds struggled to keep warm. I myself have family there, and even those outside of Texas were affected by the weather. Those without power, having no contact at all for days on end, were left with no way to reach family.

It's been a few weeks since the initial snow, and most parts of Texas are generally back to normal. In Dallas, some are still cleaning up and the weather is slowly heating up. However, many are still left without power and heating, which puts Texas officials in a difficult spot. In the end, the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to trust science and make more research-based choices. With a bit of that, everything might’ve been different.

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