This article discusses global warming, answering the question: If the Earth is warming, why is it so cold now?
As climate change heats up the planet, winters are warming faster than summers. But on days when the temperature tumbles below freezing, it leaves many people wondering, “If the Earth is getting warmer, how can winter still be so cold?”
The answer lies in the difference between local weather and climate.
Even on a day when it is colder than average where you live, the world as a whole is frequently warmer than average, which you can see for yourself on these daily maps from the University of Maine.
One 2009 study found that the United States saw roughly as many record highs as record lows in the 1950s, but by the 2000s there were twice as many record highs as record lows. Severe cold snaps were still happening, but they were becoming less common.
Some recent cold spells have been caused by a dreaded weather system called the polar vortex.