While we would like to think that global warming would lead to more available moisture to reduce the potential for droughts, it may not actually the case. There is still some debate as to whether or not global warming and cold weather can impact the amount of water available during warmer seasons because longer summer months also carry the potential for greater rainfall. The jury is still out on this one, but there are some definite areas that need to be considered before weighing in on the verdict.
Less Snowfall & Smaller Snowpacks
One of the natural events that takes place as the cold winter months come to an end and the warmth of spring brings thaw to the earth. Snowpacks on the mountains and hills begin to melt and the water travels down through streams and rivers to be heated by the warmth of the sun. Water heats and evaporates, gets carried up to colder levels, forms rain clouds and returns to the earth to prevent droughts and sustain life. With the projection of shorter winter months and less snowfall, it is theorized that there will be less snow to melt, which in turn inhibits the natural rain cycle. However, there are other models that refute the fact that there will be less snowfall during winter months. The unfortunate thing is, only time will tell and that is something that is already is short supply in terms of global warming.
Shorter Winters Bring Longer, Hotter Summers
If scientists are correct in their assessment of the current situation, this would necessarily lead to much shorter winters and significantly longer, hotter summers. The impact that this will have on the delicate ecological balance is still up for debate. Some scientists believe that it will lead to severe droughts while others contend that there will be no difference because rainfall will be increased proportionately during summer months even though snowfall will be reduced in winter due to the short duration of it. In other words, this group of scientists believes that the average annual rainfall will remain the same; it will just be heavier in summer months. Also, there is a theory abounding that contends that wetlands will realize more rainfall while arid areas will become even drier. Here again, there is no way to prove or disprove this theory without empirical observations over time, but time is something the earth just may not have enough of.
While global warming and cold weather may sound like an oxymoron, they do relate to each other in more ways than one. The impact of global warming effects cold weather and some scientists are of the mind that global warming can even increase the severity of winters around the world. Still others believe that there will be no impact whatsoever, while the staunchest advocates foretell a future without winter as we know it today. Since the only proof is gleaned over time, and time is something we dont want to waste, steps need to be taken now to reduce the impact of global warming on cold weather.