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Arctic Sea Ice Loss Linked to Severe U.S. Winters

Andrew Freedman

By Andrew Freedman
(Originally published on Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog)

Last winter's record wallops of heavy snow had many in the mid-Atlantic wondering what happened to global warming. If the planet were warming as scientists say it is, shouldn't we be receiving less snow? (Not necessarily, I reported at the time). Now comes word that, paradoxically, cooler winters with heavier snowfall in regions such as the mid-Atlantic may be connected to rapid warming and sea ice loss in the Arctic.

In other words, Arctic climate change, which studies have concluded is likely due in part to human activities, could favor cooler and snowier winters in places far removed from the far north.

Of course, this would not hold true in every winter, since multiple natural climate factors, such as El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in the Atlantic, compete for influence over the region's weather, in addition to longer-term climate change. But a new "Arctic Report Card" released last week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and prepared by an international team of researchers contains curious insights into how Arctic climate change, which may at first seem disconnected from events here at home, may be influencing weather patterns in the northern mid-latitudes.

As Nick Sundt reports on the WWF climate blog, the Report Card discusses the aptly named "Warm Arctic-Cold Continents" pattern that existed last winter, and ties it in part to sea ice loss from a warming climate.

Read the full article at Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog.


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