Arctic sea ice dwindled to a new record low in Sept. 2012, with potentially serious consequences for weather in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere.
Shifting wind patterns may drive more intense and persistent heat waves, blizzards, drought and flooding
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — More studies are showing that the massive loss of Arctic sea ice is going to have significant effects on mid-latitude weather. With more solar energy going into the Arctic Ocean because of lost ice, there is reason to expect more extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall, heat waves, and flooding in North America and Europe, according to a new report.
“What we’re seeing is stark evidence that the gradual temperature increase is not the important story related to climate change,” said Rutgers researcher Jennifer Francis. “It’s the rapid regional changes and increased frequency of extreme weather that global warming is causing. As the Arctic warms at twice the global rate, we expect an increased probability of extreme weather events across the temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere, where billions of people live,” she said.
The NOAA study, led by James Overland, Ph.D., of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., shows that normal west-to-east flowing upper-level winds have been replaced by a more north-south undulating, or wave-like pattern. This new wind pattern transports warmer air into the Arctic and pushes Arctic air farther south, and may influence the likelihood of persistent weather conditions in the mid-latitudes. Continue reading
Filed under: Snow and weather, Environment, global warming, climate and weather, flooding, tropical storms and hurricanes | Tagged: global warming, climate change, Arctic sea ice, extreme weather | Leave a comment »