Slideshow: Is the warming Arctic behind winter storms?

first_img NASA/Kathryn Hansen Europe was again hit hard in January and February 2012. Here, a woman walks on snow-covered roads in the village of Llopushnik in southern Kosovo, in January 2012. In New York, the December 2010 blizzard dumped up to 74 centimeters of snow. Slideshow: Is the warming Arctic behind winter storms? The actual atmospheric link between Arctic amplification and the waviness of the jet stream may be disputed, but it is known that a wavier jet stream can enhance the likelihood of frigid winter storms such as the powerful nor’easter in December 2009 that © Rick Friedman/Corbis Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean—including in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas—has dwindled by more than 11% per decade since 1979, due to global warming. The new expanses of open water absorb the sun’s energy rather than reflecting it back into space, further en © Adrian Bradshaw/epa/Corbis © Valdrin Xhemaj/epa/Corbis Winter storms have also blasted eastern Asia, such as this snowstorm that hit Beijing in November 2009. © Gary Hershorn/Reuters/Corbis Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean—including in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas—has dwindled by more than 11% per decade since 1979, due to global warming. The new expanses of open water absorb the sun’s energy rather than reflecting it back into space, further en NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response/Wikimedia © Tyrone Turner/National Geographic Creative/Corbis center_img NASA/Kathryn Hansen “Snowmageddon” and other powerful winter storms have blasted the United States, Europe, and Asia in recent years. Some scientists have suggested that such extreme weather events—such as those seen in this slideshow—are linked with rapid climate change in the Arctic, including dwindling sea ice. As more sea ice melts and Arctic amplification proceeds, it creates a smaller temperature gradient between the warmer Arctic and lower latitudes. That, in turn, slows down the jet stream, they argue, causing it to become more “wavy” and allowing colder air to penetrate farther south. But other researchers urge caution, questioning whether the data support this linkage, as Science reports today. They note we still have a lot to learn about the Arctic’s impact on the atmosphere.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) © Ian Langsdon/epa/Corbis Another blizzard struck the northeastern United States in December 2010; homes and streets in Scituate, Massachusetts, were also flooded due to extreme high tides. The 2009 to 2010 winter was particularly memorable in the northeastern United States. In February 2010, so much snow fell in the mid-Atlantic area that the media dubbed the event “Snowmageddon.” By Carolyn GramlingFeb. 19, 2015 , 2:00 PM ‹› The same nor’easter cloaked the Chesapeake Bay area in white in December 2009. dbking/Wikimedia © Valdrin Xhemaj/epa/Corbis Europe was again hit hard in January and February 2012. Here, a woman walks on snow-covered roads in the village of Llopushnik in southern Kosovo, in January 2012. The heavy snowfall hasn’t just occurred in the northeastern United States; Europe has been blanketed as well. Snow covered the city of Paris in December 2009. last_img

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