Two Adelie penguins stand atop a block of melting ice on a rocky shoreline at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in East Antarctica, 1 January 2010. Photo: Pauline Askin / Reuters

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle
8 Dec 2013

OSLO (Reuters) – A thaw of Arctic ice and snow is linked to worsening summer heatwaves and downpours thousands of miles south in Europe, the United States and other areas, underlying the scale of the threat posed by global warming, scientists said on Sunday.

Their report, which was dismissed as inconclusive by some other experts, warned of increasingly extreme weather across "much of North America and Eurasia where billions of people will be affected".

The study is part of a drive to work out how climate change affects the frequency of extreme weather, from droughts to floods. Governments want to know the trends to plan everything from water supplies to what crops to plant.

But the science of a warming Arctic is far from settled.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, experts in China and the United States said they could not conclusively say the Arctic thaw caused more extreme weather, or vice versa.

But they said they had found evidence of a relationship between the two. Rising temperatures over thawing snow on land and sea ice in the Arctic were changing atmospheric pressure and winds, the report said.

The changes slowed the eastward movement of vast meandering weather systems and meant more time for extreme weather to develop - such as a heatwave in Russia in 2010, droughts in the United States and China in 2011 and 2012, or heavy summer rains that caused floods in Britain in 2012, the paper added.

"The study contributes to a growing body of evidence that … the melting Arctic has wide-ranging implications for people living in the middle latitudes," lead author Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told Reuters.

Sea ice in the Arctic shrank to a record low in 2012 and the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists says it could almost vanish in summers by 2050 with rising greenhouse gas emissions. [more]

Arctic thaw tied to European, U.S. heatwaves and downpours: study


  1. Florifulgurator said...

    Somebody jumped the shark here. Reuters?

    (Anybody else see the grotesque goof with this picture?)  

  2. Jim said...

    Heh, I wondered if anyone would notice. Yes, it's Antarctica, but Reuters ran it and I thought it was a cool shot.


  3. Florifulgurator said...

    Reuters ran it with this story or another about Antarctica?  

  4. Jim said...

    With this story!

    Also, comments are moderated, and I'm somewhat slow on the trigger. ^^  

  5. Florifulgurator said...

    So, Reuters ran an Arctic story with penguins. And nobody is complaining or laughing hysterically?

    Just silent despair?

    [No problem with slow-trigger moderation. It seems I couldn't verify that my comment made it to the moderation queue. (But hmpf, this is a Blogger interface...) Testing once again, now with some patience... and remembering: Always use a reliable text editor when facing a www text interface. (Ctrl-A Ctrl-C is not safe against Murphy's Law.)]  


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