In a puzzling twist, the northern regions of Eurasia have been colder winters for the past 20 years. Researchers have discovered that this unusual weather pattern is linked to the melting of sea ice in the Arctic region.
These unusual weather patterns had even prompted Donald Trump to wish for some ‘good old-fashioned global warming,’ ignorant of the fact that extreme cold weather occurs even in a warming world. Short-term weather events are different from long-term climate changes.
Rising global temperatures were adversely affecting the Arctic region for a long time, though the pace has accelerated in the past 4 decades. The changes are more pronounced in this region than in other parts of the planet. It has led to a rapid reduction of sea ice in the summer periods.
The extent of receding ice has prompted warnings by scientists that the regions could be ice-free in a few decades if current trends in global warming continue.
Receding Ice Directly Linked To Colder Winters In Northern Regions
Scientists have been long studying the long and short-term effects of this change on regions outside the Arctic Circle which include colder winters. New evidence has emerged that the melting of polar ice is leading to severe changes in weather patterns in Eurasia and North America.
Researchers found a link between the warmer region and the polar vortex, a band of strong westerly winds that form in the stratosphere at heights 10 to 30 miles every winter above the North Pole. This vortex encloses a large volume of extremely cold air.
Researchers proved that ice melting in the Kara and Barents seas causes heavy snowfall in Siberia and causes excessive energy that has an impact on the Polar Vortex swirling over the Polar region.
This energy causes the vortex to expand and causes changes in weather patterns in the northern continents, leading to colder winter. This stretching has been observed on a satellite since 1979. It was this stretching of the polar vortex that caused the deadly cold in Texas this year in February.
Read: Greenland Faces Rapid Ice Melting : Can Put Florida Under 2 Inches Of Water
Dr. Judah Cohen, professor at MIT and director, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, says that an increase in snowfall and melting polar ice is causing a vast difference in temperature and leading to colder winter across the Eurasian continent and North America. He says that the increase in temperature difference disrupts the polar vortex. And a weak vortex leads to colder winters.
The finding has been grounded on both modeling and observation methods. Both methods establish a direct link between the Arctic climate changes, the disruption leading to the extending of the vortex, and the colder winters.