FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2009 file photo, steam and smoke rises from a coal power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Scientists are more confident than ever that pumping carbon dioxide into the air by burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. By how much is something governments and scientists meeting in Stockholm will try to pin down with as much precision as possible Friday Sept. 27, 2013 in a seminal report on global warming. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
WASHINGTON A new study asserts a link between climate change, the intensifying California drought and the polar vortex blamed for the recent harsh winter.
Utah State University scientist Simon Wang, who wrote the study, says he hopes the findings help researchers predict the next big weird winter.
The new study blames an unusual combination of a strong Western high pressure ridge and a deep Great Lakes low pressure trough. It says that's linked to a recently found precursor to El Nino (NEEN'-yoh), the world-weather changing phenomenon, and that precursor itself seems amplified by a build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
Texas Tech University's Katharine Hayhoe says the study is promising but not quite proven as it pushes the boundaries in "one of the hottest topics in climate science today."
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