Global warming unpredictability: two stories

Global warming is not for the simple-minded, two stories from the same day last week remind us.

As the invaluable Andrew Revkin notes on Dot Earth on 6/15, this past May was the warmest on record. On the same day, from a polar science conference in Oslo, researcher James Overland of NOAA presents evidence to show that the loss of Arctic sea ice will mean more cold, snowy winters in northern regions.

"The exceptional cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010
in
Europe, eastern Asia and eastern North America is connected
to unique physical processes in the Arctic," said James
Overland of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
in the United States.

"In future, cold and snowy winters will be the rule rather
than the exception" in these regions, Overland told IPS.

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.

Overland explains the warming of the Arctic as the result of
a combination of climate change, natural variability, loss
of sea ice reflectivity, ocean heat storage and changing
wind patterns, which has disrupted the stability of the
Arctic climate system.

For the curious about this aspect of "global weirding," here's a link to a series of papers presented at the Polar Year conference in Oslo on the subject of Polar Science — Global Impact.

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