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Is climate change the reason for winter freezes in Texas?

Baylor University Professor Dan Peppe says his research points to climate change playing a major role in extreme winter events in Texas.

WACO, Texas — Another winter freeze in Texas begs the question: Why is Texas seeing these extreme winter weather events as frequently as it has?

Baylor Geoscience Professor Dan Peppe says his research suggests climate change plays a role.

"For the last 150 years and even further back in time, you know, people have been, humans in general have been introducing carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere," Peppe said.

Peppe researches plant fossils around the globe to understand climate and how our carbon foot print plays a role in the changes we see over time.

Since 2019, it seems Texas has had major winter weather events every year. 

Most notably, the snow storm in 2021, in conjunction with COVID and the Texas Power Grid failure, it really called attention to extreme winter weather.

"Another thing that's happening, another phenomenon is extreme weather events are becoming more and more common," Peppe said. "What we've experienced in the last few years since 2019, 2021 being probably the most extreme, is more frequency of these extreme winter weather events. They'll probably continue for some time as well."

Peppe says because of these repeated winter, the responsibility falls on governments to be better prepared in case of these storms. In Central Texas, many businesses are shut down or closed early since Monday due to the icy roads and freezing temperatures.

Peppe says planning ahead is the key.

"The kinds of patterns that we've all been recognizing and weather now we know what we're seeing is the effect of global climate change," Peppe said. "Thinking forward, we can use that information to plan you know, our city, our state leaders, our federal government leaders can use that information to help us plan forward."

But we also, as a society, need to continue making better, greener decisions."

"How do we change some of these practices? How do we do things so that we stop changing the climate as extremely as we as we are," Peppe said.


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