A Snowy April Fools


Photograph courtesy of Prashant Bidhuri

April Fools this year started off with one of the greatest pranks of the century—snow in April.

However, contrary to popular belief, snow in April is a rather normal occurrence even if it is a little strange. Snow in the spring months in the Midwest is not new, nor is it unusual to see. Midwesterners may recall that there was one instance of snow occurring during May in certain states during 2013.

Often times, people blame the issue of global warming for the strange weather occurrence, but shifts in weather are often natural.

“The snow in April, while somewhat annoying and potentially surprising, is not terribly uncommon,” said Dr. Marc Klingshirn, associate professor of chemistry. “We need to remember that we are in a transition month between winter and spring and the weather can be unpredictable.”

People often confuse weather and climate to be synonymous. It is partially true; however, weather is more short term, while climate is long term and affects the weather. Climate usually takes into account average rainfall, droughts, and temperatures over longer periods. Therefore, the weather change in April is not too serious. It would be more concerning if it snowed consistently throughout April with low temperature averages.

This does not mean that global warming is not a contributing factor to climate change. 2017 was the third hottest winter on record with the summer of 2016 ranked as the fifth hottest summer to date. Global warming was a contributor to California’s record breaking wildfire in 2017 as higher temperatures coupled with California’s drought amplified the fire. It is possible that 2018’s climate might be just as severe as that of the previous year. Although 2018 has not shown any considerable record breaking weather, there is still a possibility that the climate can change for the worse.

Global warming will continue to remain a factor in the worsening climate change and is an issue that needs to be dealt with.

“For starters, we all need to recognize that there is an issue and that we are all participants and contributors to this global unfolding,” says Dr. Klingshirn. “We need solid research and sound ideas that can help alleviate what may come as a result of our actions, and then actually implement those ideas. We need [policy makers] to actually listen to the scientists and recognize that the scientists want a healthy planet and a strong economy and that they can be trusted. Innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit is strong, and those can lead us down new and more sustainable paths.”