Daniel Swain

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Daniel Swain: Yahoo News—How climate change is making California’s weather more extreme

“A lot of folks are saying, ‘Everything is getting more extreme, it’s wetter and drier and hotter and colder.’ One of those isn’t true,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain told Yahoo News. “Three out of the four are in California. The one thing that isn’t happening is it’s not getting colder.”

Swain, whose blog, Weather West, documents California’s changing climate, noted that while many records have been set this year for the lowest high temperatures ever recorded on a given calendar day, that number pales in comparison to the number of daily heat records.

“We’ve broken dozens of daily cold records across the state in this event and this winter. Just in the last two years, we’ve broken hundreds, if not thousands, of the equivalent hot records in California,” Swain said. “You will continue to experience cold extremes even in a warming climate, but there’s so much evidence that we’re seeing far more of the record warm events than we are the record cold. We’ve quantified this on a U.S.-wide basis, it’s about a 3:1 ratio. In a stable climate, you’d expect it to be about 1:1.”