The memory of last winter's blizzards may be fading in this summer's searing heat, but scientists studying them have detected a perfect storm of converging weather patterns that had little relation to climate change.
To many people's confusion, these weather events happened against a backdrop of increasing man-made greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere that are gradually warming the planet. But scientists stress this weather does not mean that those gases are no longer exerting a warming influence.
Ice chemists are studying the surface structure of snow crystals and why sharp transitions in shape occur at different temperatures. The differences they see not only explain why no two snowflakes are identical, but also hold implications for their ozone research in the Arctic Ocean region.