The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice through climate change has only a “minimal influence” on severe cold winter weather across Asia and North America, new research has shown.
The possible connection between Arctic sea-ice loss and extreme cold weather—such as the deep freezes that can grip the USA in the winter months—has long been studied by scientists.
Observations - Sea-ice - Cover - Swathes - Asia
Observations show that when the regional sea-ice cover is reduced, swathes of Asia and North America often experience unusually cold and hazardous winter conditions.
However, previous climate modelling studies have suggested that reduced sea ice cannot fully explain the cold winters.
Study - Experts - University - Exeter - Royal
Now, a new study by experts from the University of Exeter, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and the Energy and Sustainability Research Institute in Groningen, has shed new light on the link between sea-ice loss and cold winters.
For the research, the international team combined observations over the past 40 years with results from sophisticated climate modelling experiments. They found that the observations and models agreed that reduced regional sea ice and cold winters often coincide which each other.
Correlation - Sea - Ice - Winters - Mid-latitude
They found that the correlation between reduced sea ice and extreme winters across the mid-latitude occurs because both are simultaneously driven by the same, large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns.
Crucially, it shows that reduced sea ice only has a minimal influence on whether a harsh and severe winter will occur.
Study - Science - Journal - Nature - Climate
The study is published in leading science journal, Nature Climate Change.
Dr. Russell Blackport, a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and lead author of the paper said: “The correlation between reduced sea ice and cold winters does not mean one is causing the other. We show that the real cause is changes...
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