Saturday, September 15, 2012

Settled science: Less Arctic ice this year means a warmer winter, which is bad; it also means a colder winter, which is also bad

Arctic Sea Ice | NRDC
A warmer Arctic will also affect weather patterns and thus food production around the world. Wheat farming in Kansas, for example, would be profoundly affected by the loss of ice cover in the Arctic. According to a NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies computer model, Kansas would be 4 degrees warmer in the winter without Arctic ice, which normally creates cold air masses that frequently slide southward into the United States. Warmer winters are bad news for wheat farmers, who need freezing temperatures to grow winter wheat.
Feb. 2012:  Unusual weather: Arctic sea ice decline may be driving snowy winters seen in recent years in N. Hemisphere
"Our study demonstrates that the decrease in Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation," said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. "The circulation changes result in more frequent episodes of atmospheric blocking patterns, which lead to increased cold surges and snow over large parts of the northern continents."

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