The cold snap, which comes after snow blanketed much of the northeastern United States last week, has also led to confusion surrounding how weather relates to global warming.
Since the winter weather began, some Americans have taken to blogs, television stations and comment threads, asking (often rhetorically) how the weather can be so cold if the world is supposed to be getting warmer.
The question points to a misunderstanding many have over weather and climate. And scientists warn that the uncertainty surrounding that difference could hamper the mass global action needed to prevent the coming effects of a warming globe.
That skepticism could be seen in full force recently as snow covered the New York City headquarters of Fox News, from where the station broadcast several reports suggesting that recent cold weather conflicted with scientists’ assessments of climate change, or even suggested the globe may be cooling.