Arctic Warming is Altering Weather Patterns, Study Shows
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published April 3. Given recent news that Arctic sea ice set a record low, it's a reminder that changes in the Arctic can affect the U.S. and Europe. By showing that Arctic climate change is no longer just a problem for the polar bear, a new study may finally dispel the view that what happens in the Arctic, stays in the Arctic. The study, by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and Stephen Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, ties rapid Arctic climate change to high-impact, extreme weather events in the U.S. and Europe. The study shows that by changing the temperature balance between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, rapid Arctic warming is altering the course of the jet stream, which steers weather systems from west to east around the hemisphere. The jet stream, the study says, is becoming “wavier,” with steeper troughs and higher ridges. The strong area of high pressure shunted the jet stream far north into Canada.
Related: Observed and expected environmental effects