Watching the news last night, Diane Sawyer leaned into the camera with a what’ll-they-think-of-next expression on her face to introduce a story straight out of Ripley’s: Climate change may mean less snowfall but more blizzards. [record scratch sound effect] Say whaaaaat?

Philly.com ran the story with the headline, “Less snow, more blizzards makes sense to scientists.” Outlets that ran the Associated Press’ story used, “Climate contradiction: Less snow, more blizzards.” Now I’m not the smartest person in the world, I’ll grant you that, but I find it hard to believe that adult human beings who understand English and have experienced weather are having trouble with this concept.

A blizzard in Manhattan, if that makes sense
A blizzard in Manhattan, if that makes sense.

The AP explains the idea:

A warmer atmosphere can hold, and dump, more moisture, snow experts say. And two soon-to-be-published studies demonstrate how there can be more giant blizzards yet less snow overall each year. Projections are that that’s likely to continue with manmade global warming. …

Ten climate scientists say the idea of less snow and more blizzards makes sense: A warmer world is likely to decrease the overall amount of snow falling each year and shrink the snow season. But when it is cold enough for a snowstorm to hit, the slightly warmer air is often carrying more moisture, producing potentially historic blizzards.