According to a new study in Nature Geoscience, sea ice melt has led to twice the likelihood of severe winters in Europe and Asia. The study monitored sea ice melt in the Arctic, Barents and Kara seas since 2004, finding that arctic ice melt made it twice as likely for atmospheric circulations to suck cool air into Europe and Asia, Bloomberg reports.
The study was conducted using 200 computer-generated simulations using a model optimized for two different types of arctic sea-ice concentration.
These findings support the scientific consensus that global warming is leading to more intense seasonal weather patterns and storms. “This counterintuitive effect of the global warming that led to the sea ice decline in the first place makes some people think that global warming has stopped. It has not,” Colin Summerhayes of the Scott Polar Research Institute said in a statement to Bloomberg.
While the rate of average surface temperature increase has slowed since 2000, Summerhayes noted that, “the Arctic has gone on rapidly warming in this time.” Further, many scientists attribute the slower rate of surface temperature increase to increased heat absorption by the earth’s oceans.
This study arrives at the start of a week-long meeting of 2,000 envoys gathered by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prepare a comprehensive examination of climate change heading into the December Climate Summit in Lima.