Climate Change Could Mean Shorter, Less Intense Winters, Suggests NIU Study

Jun 4, 2020

Dr. Walker Ashley is a Professor of Meteorology at Northern Illinois University.
Credit Northern Illinois University

Research from a Northern Illinois University meteorology professor suggests carbon emissions could greatly reduce the intensity of winter weather.

Meteorology Professor Walker Ashley used computers to model winter storms at the beginning of the 21st century. He then used the model with current levels of carbon emissions to simulate what the season would look like later in the century. Ashley said in that winter, storms at the beginning and end of the season would practically disappear.

“While we’ll still have snow events in the Midwest during the heart of the season, the winter season itself will be significantly curtailed," he said. 

The study modeled these winter storms across the eastern two-thirds of the United States. In future studies, Ashley hopes to model what these storms would look like in shorter timeframes, and if there were less greenhouse gases being emitted.