As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn't real.
The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it.
They would be wrong.
"Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not," said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. "As long as it's cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls."
The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it. "It's basic physics, and it's irrefutable," Mann said.