Climate Contradiction: Less Snow, More Blizzards

In this photo from Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, Mike Brown of Boston cross country skis past snow-covered cars through the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston.
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By SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists point to both scant recent snowfall in parts of the country and this month's whopper of a Northeast blizzard as potential global warming signs.

How can that be?

[PHOTOS: Nor'easter Brings Snow to Superstorm Damaged Areas]

The answer lies in atmospheric physics. Experts say the warmer atmosphere can hold, and dump, more moisture. Two new studies find there are more big blizzards but less snow overall each year.

One study says the nation has been hit by twice as many extreme snowstorms in the past 50 years than in the previous 60. Another study predicts annual global snowfall will shrink by more than a foot in the next 50 years.

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