With current outdoors temperatures below the freezing point in large parts of Europe, it is easy to think that climate change is either a hoax or that it will be most welcome as it would get us rid of those patches of ice on the roads.
This won’t be the case as the Independent reports : “The bitterly cold weather sweeping Britain and (…) Europe has been linked by scientists with the ice-free seas of the Arctic, where global warming is exerting its greatest influence.”
This is another example of climate change’s influence on weather extremes, and thus another reason to tackle the problem before it really gets out of our control.
Here are some more extracts of the article :
A dramatic loss of sea ice covering the Barents and Kara Seas above northern Russia could explain why a chill Arctic wind has engulfed much of Europe and killed 221 people over the past week.
(…) A growing number of experts believe complex wind patterns are being changed because melting Arctic sea ice has exposed huge swaths of normally frozen ocean to the atmosphere above.
In particular, the loss of Arctic sea ice could be influencing the development of high-pressure weather systems over northern Russia, which bring very cold winds from the Arctic and Siberia to Western Europe and the British Isles, the scientists believe.
An intense anticyclone over north-west Russia is behind the bitterly cold easterly winds that have swept across Europe and some climate scientists say the lack of Arctic sea ice brought about by global warming is responsible.
“The current weather pattern fits earlier predictions of computer models for how the atmosphere responds to the loss of sea ice due to global warming,” said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
“The ice-free areas of the ocean act like a heater as the water is warmer than the Arctic air above it. This favours the formation of a high-pressure system near the Barents Sea, which steers cold air into Europe.”
(…) “Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far-away sea ice won’t bother him could be wrong. There are complex interconnections in the climate system, and in the Barents-Kara Sea we might have discovered a powerful feedback mechanism,” Dr Petoukhov said.