Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall
While the Arctic region has been warming strongly in recent decades, anomalously large snowfall in recent winters has affected large parts of North America, Europe, and east Asia.
Here we demonstrate that the decrease in autumn Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation that have some resemblance to the negative phase of the winter Arctic oscillation.
However, the atmospheric circulation change linked to the reduction of sea ice shows much broader meridional meanders in midlatitudes and clearly different interannual variability than the classical Arctic oscillation.
This circulation change results in more frequent episodes of blocking patterns that lead to increased cold surges over large parts of northern continents.
Moreover, the increase in atmospheric water vapor content in the Arctic region during late autumn and winter driven locally by the reduction of sea ice provides enhanced moisture sources, supporting increased heavy snowfall in Europe during early winter and the northeastern and midwestern United States during winter. We conclude that the recent decline of Arctic sea ice has played a critical role in recent cold and snowy winters.Also see the story at: http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/arctic-ice-decline/
Unusual Weather: Arctic Sea Ice Decline May be Driving Snowy Winters Seen in Recent Years
The Weekend Wonk: Jennifer Francis on Arctic Sea Ice
September 22, 2012
Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutger’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences is featured in my sea ice wrap video, which should be out early in the week.
Here is a lecture she gave in January of 2012. Longish, but worth dipping into, as she summarizes some of the most recent research in regard to the effects of shrinking arctic ice on weather and climate in the temperate latitudes – the so-called “arctic paradox” so beloved by Fox News – “if there’s global warming, why are we having this record snow storm?”.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~What she told me in a recent interview was that the sea ice record is not something that we just pay attention to in September – there will, in fact, be reverberations that will make fall and winter “very interesting” around the globe.
Interestingly Dr. Francis wrote an op-ed of her own in the Washington Post. I found it much more enlightening that the jibber-jabber in "No consensus on consensus."
Heat waves. Drought. Flooding. Cold spells. Wildfires. The climate system is changing before our very eyes, and there is no more glaring proof than the record-shattering loss of Arctic sea ice this summer.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Wednesday that the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean has smashed the previous record minimum extent set in 2007 by a staggering 18 percent. The impacts of rising temperatures and melting ice extend beyond the far north to us in the United States, as we are poised to feel the weather-related backlash.
The ice cover, only half of what it was only a few decades ago, is a stunning visual demonstration of the effects that increasing greenhouse gases, and resulting warming of the Earth, are having on the climate system...