Feeds

Melting Arctic leads to snowy winters

That missing iceberg is 12" deep on your driveway

Security for virtualized datacentres

Georgia Tech has lobbed a small grenade into the climate change debate, with a study suggesting a correlation between melting Arctic pack ice and snowy winters in the Northern Hemisphere.

The study, announced February 27, notes that above-average snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has been measured each year since 2007 (when Arctic sea ice reached a record low level). During the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Northern Hemisphere winters, snow cover reached its second and third highest levels on record.

“Our study demonstrates that the decrease in Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation,” said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. “The circulation changes result in more frequent episodes of atmospheric blocking patterns, which lead to increased cold surges and snow over large parts of the northern continents.”

The NASA- and NAS-supported research seeks to identify the mechanisms by which declining Arctic sea ice might influence winter weather conditions.

Georgia Tech researcher Jiping Liu said the research suggests that higher-than-usual sea ice melts in late Northern Hemisphere summers appears to be altering atmospheric currents – “weakening westerly winds, increasing the amplitude of the jet stream” – while at the same time lifting atmospheric moisture content.

Simulations run by the researchers also suggest that as the sea ice retreats, it results in surface warming in Greenland, north-eastern Canada, and the Arctic Ocean. This is matched by a corresponding surface cooling over Northern America, Europe, Siberia and eastern Asia, leading to above- average snowfall in those regions.

More simply: the moisture lost to the Arctic in the form of melting sea ice has to end up somewhere – and it appears to be falling as snow during the northern winter.

The Georgia Tech announcement says: “The consistent relationships seen in the model simulations and observational data illustrate that the rapid loss of sea ice in summer and delayed recovery of sea ice in autumn modulates snow cover, winter temperature and the frequency of cold air outbreaks in northern mid-latitudes.”

The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.