On the plus side, it looks to reach 34 degrees today with a twenty percent chance of rain. In Anchorage. Needless to say most people expect freezing weather in Alaska in January. So, for the slower folks out there, ‘polar vortex‘ does not describe the cold cycle on your washing machine. Climate is a global system and not just the snow falling on your pickup truck this morning.
Lesson number infinity in why climate change sucks. We depend more than most people realize on predictable weather. We can probably survive warmer summers but our agriculture system depends on knowing little things like whether they will have the water to plant crops next year. A lot of states, especially in the border south, just do not have the infrastructure or the building codes to deal with exceptional cold snaps and building contractors in Alaska* would appreciate if the permafrost would stay frozen. Yes, people can deal with crazy temperature extremes, but living in a climate where a loss of power can kill you forces people to invest in expensive backups like a generator or heater, or take your family’s life in your hands. That in turn forces everyone to learn about things like carbon monoxide and the difference between regular gas that will not go bad within a few months and ruin your small motor, and the ethanol-added kind that will. Of course you can live in an unpredictable and highly variable environment. It just costs a lot more to keep something like a first-world quality of life.
(*) Alsotoo, the trans-Alaskan pipeline.