Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low: Live Updates and Reaction
New data from the US Snow and Ice Data Centre is expected to confirm a record Arctic sea ice minimum within days.
One of the most immediate effects of this year’s record melt could be a spike in your gas bill, according to researchers in North America this week, who warn the “Arctic sea ice melt ‘may bring harsh winter to Europe’”. It’s all to do with changes to the jet stream, which some people speculated could have been behind the UK’s (largely) rubbish summer.
Here’s why the Arctic could herald another cold winter. And yes, this is a ‘could’, ‘may’, etc story, for now.
The unprecedented expanse of ice-free Arctic Ocean has been absorbing the 24-hour sun over the short polar summer. The heat in the water must be released into the atmosphere if the ice is to re-form this autumn. “This is like a new energy source for the atmosphere,” said Francis.
This heat and water vapour will affect the all-important jet stream – the west-to-east winds that are the boundary between cold Arctic and the warm mid-latitudes. Others researchers have already shown that the jet stream has been shifting northwards in recent years. Francis and colleagues have recently documented that the jet stream is also slowing down.
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