Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ICE WORLD
Winter cold extremes linked to high-altitude polar vortex weakening
by Staff Writers
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Sep 25, 2017


"Several types of weather extremes are on the rise with climate change, and our study adds evidence that this can also include cold spells, which is an unpleasant surprise for these regions." The effect is stronger over Asia and Europe than over the US.

When the strong winds that circle the Arctic slacken, cold polar air can escape and cause extreme winter chills in parts of the Northern hemisphere. A new study finds that these weak states have become more persistent over the past four decades and can be linked to cold winters in Russia and Europe.

It is the first to show that changes in winds high up in the stratosphere substantially contributed to the observed winter cooling trend in northern Eurasia. While it is still a subject of research how the Arctic under climate change impacts the rest of the world, this study lends further support that a changing Arctic impacts the weather across large swaths of the Northern Hemisphere population centers.

"In winter, the freezing Arctic air is normally 'locked' by strong circumpolar winds several tens of kilometers high in the atmosphere, known as the stratospheric polar vortex, so that the cold air is confined near the pole," says Marlene Kretschmer from PIK, lead-author of the study to be published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

"We found that there's a shift towards more-persistent weak states of the polar vortex. This allows frigid air to break out of the Arctic and threaten Russia and Europe with cold extremes. In fact this can explain most of the observed cooling of Eurasian winters since 1990."

Warm Arctic, cold continents
Despite global warming, recent winters in the Northeastern US, Europe and especially Asia were anomalously cold - some regions like Western Siberia even show a downward temperature trend in winter. In stark contrast, the Arctic has been warming rapidly. Paradoxically, both phenomena are likely linked: When sea-ice North of Scandinavia and Russia melts, the uncovered ocean releases more warmth into the atmosphere and this can impact the atmosphere up to about 30 kilometers height in the stratosphere disturbing the polar vortex.

Weak states of the high-altitude wind circling the Arctic then favors the occurrence of cold spells in the mid-latitudes. Previous work by Kretschmer and colleagues identified this causal pathway in observational data and it is further supported by several climate computer simulation studies.

"Our latest findings not only confirm the link between a weak polar vortex and severe winter weather, but also calculated how much of the observed cooling in regions like Russia and Scandinavia is linked to the weakening vortex. It turns out to be most," says co-author Judah Cohen from Atmospheric and Environmental Research/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US).

"Several types of weather extremes are on the rise with climate change, and our study adds evidence that this can also include cold spells, which is an unpleasant surprise for these regions." The effect is stronger over Asia and Europe than over the US.

Circulation patterns drive our weather"
"It is very important to understand how global warming affects circulation patterns in the atmosphere," says co-author Dim Coumou from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands. "Jet Stream changes can lead to more abrupt and surprising disturbances to which society has to adapt. The uncertainties are quite large, but global warming provides a clear risk given its potential to disturb circulation patterns driving our weather - including potentially disastrous extremes."

More frequent weak stratospheric polar vortex states linked to cold extremes.

ICE WORLD
End-of-summer Arctic sea ice extent is eighth lowest on record
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Sep 21, 2017
Arctic sea ice appeared to have reached its yearly lowest extent on Sept. 13, NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder have reported. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that at 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers), this year's Arctic sea ice minimum extent is the eighth lowest in the consist ... read more

Related Links
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Beyond the Ice Age



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

ICE WORLD
Supercontinuum lasers to inspire better beer, bread

Diet tracker in space

NASA's Robotic 'Sniffer' Confirms Space Station Leak, Repair

Crewed Missions Beyond LEO

ICE WORLD
ISRO to resume satellite launches by December

Mechanisms are Critical to Space Vehicle Flight Success

Dragon Splashes Down in Pacific With NASA Science Experiments

Rocket fever launches UB students to engineering competition in New Mexico

ICE WORLD
Exploring 'Perseverance Valley' During Winter

Six emerge from 8-mo Mars experiment in Hawaii dome

More evidence of water on Mars

Ice mined on Mars could provide water for humans exploring space

ICE WORLD
Work on China's mission to Mars 'well underway'

Chinese company eyes development of reusable launch vehicle

Spacecraft passes docking test

China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

ICE WORLD
CSU Launches Nation's First Space Law Center

Northrop Grumman to buy space firm Orbital for $9.2 bn

India, Japan Set to Boost Space Cooperation

Bids for government funding prove strong interest in LaunchUK

ICE WORLD
Space radiation is risky business for the human body

Corrosion in real time

Self-healing gold particles

'Naturally' glowing cotton yields dazzling new threads

ICE WORLD
Scientists propose new concept of terrestrial planet formation

The return of the comet-like exoplanet

New prediction of a detection wavelength for searching phototrophs on exoplanets

Hubble observes pitch black planet

ICE WORLD
Pluto features given first official names

Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery

New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement