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Polar Heat Bringing Harder Winters

Posted by Lindy on June 15, 2010

By Stephen Leahy

OSLO, Jun 15, 2010 (IPS) – Last winter’s big snowfall and cold temperatures in the eastern United States and Europe were likely caused by the loss of Arctic sea ice, researchers concluded at the International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference in Norway last week. “In future, cold and snowy winters will be the rule rather than the exception” in these regions, James Overland of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in the United States, told IPS.

Climate change has warmed the entire Arctic region, melting 2.5 million square kilometres of sea ice, and that, paradoxically, is producing colder and snowier winters for Europe, Asia and parts of North America. Scientists have been surprised by the rapid warming of the Arctic, where annual temperatures have increased two to three times faster than the global average. In one part of the Arctic, over the Barents and Karas Seas north of Scandinavia, average annual temperatures are now 10 degrees C higher than they were in 1990!

And the changes in the Arctic are now irreversible, he said. Barber says an ice-free summer may be just three or four years away, when icebreakers will no longer be needed to navigate the region.

“The ice pack looks like Swiss cheese,” agreed Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Boulder, Colorado.

For more horrors do follow the link and read more


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