Monday, August 31, 2015

Yes, a Warmer Arctic Means Cold Winters Elsewhere.  Here's How.

Climate change manifests in snowier winters in places like Boston, thanks to a warmer Arctic. (Credit: Peter Enyeart, via Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Melting sea ice and warmer temperatures in the Arctic are to blame for the brutal cold snaps that have plagued parts of Asia and North America in recent years, according to new research by Korean and European scientists released Monday.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, adds to the growing evidence linking rising Arctic temperatures to changing weather patterns across the globe.  It also helps further debunk one of climate deniers' favorite arguments:  cold weather proves the world isn't warming from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Deniers reveled in their theory last winter as a record-breaking 110.6 inches of snow fell on Boston and temperatures as low as minus-35 degrees Fahrenheit chilled wide swaths of the Central Plains and Northeast.  Republican Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe famously brought a snowball onto the Senate floor to "prove" his point and Republican Presidential front runner and businessman Donald Trump tweeted in February, "Record low temperatures and massive amounts of snow.  Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING?"

"This research blasts enormous holes in that argument, if the deniers choose to pay attention to these findings," said Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey who was not involved in the research.

The concept seems contradictory at first, warmer temperatures in one place causing cold winters in another.  But the paper finds that a hotter, less icy Arctic—a region that has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the world over the last two decades—creates a bulge of warm air in the lower atmosphere that forces the jet stream to become wavier, dipping farther south in some places and peaking farther north in others as it moves eastward around the globe.  As it dips south into latitudes lower than it used to, it carries with it cold Arctic air.

Read more at Yes, a Warmer Arctic Means Cold Winters Elsewhere.  Here's How.

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