New research reinforces view of link between rising Arctic temperatures and extreme cold farther south


As if touch glaciers, thawing permafrost and starving polar bears weren’t plenty, scientists are finding that the effects of climate change in the Arctic are impassive more complex – and far-reaching – than we thought.

New research suggests that unpleasant spells at the top of the world can, surprisingly, cause unusually cold weather in parts of North America – and that could be wronging plants, damaging agriculture and even affecting the amount of carbon dioxide that study c touch ons into our atmosphere.

Plus, it further reinforces a controversial but persistent theory make one thinking that the fast-warming of the Arctic could be causing weather extremes in the heavily inhabited mid-latitudes as well.

The new study, just out Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience by a together of researchers from South Korea, China and the United States, catches that warmer-than-usual springtime temperatures in the Arctic Ocean are followed by colder-than-usual temperatures across much of North America, as approvingly as a reduction in precipitation in some parts of the southern United States. And these conditions are also associated with a reduction in bush growth and development, in some cases even leading to reduced crop returns.

«This study adds to the growing pile of evidence that the tortuous effects of Arctic meltdown will affect us all in surprising ways,» reported Arctic climate expert Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, who was not affected with the new research, in an email to The Washington Post.

FILE – Melting sea ice in the Kane Basin between Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island. (Photo by Chris Mooney for The Washington Post)

FILE – Melting sea ice in the Kane Basin between Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Islet. (Photo by Chris Mooney for The Washington Post)

The new study builds on a early previously to paper, published by some of the same authors two years ago, which surveyed the link between unusually warm conditions in the Arctic Ocean and unusually unfriendly winters in both East Asia and North America. This swatting, along with other similar research conducted in the last few years, recommends that warming ocean temperatures and declines in Arctic sea ice can cause atmospheric revolutions that significantly affect weather patterns in other parts of the epoch.

Some scientists have suggested, for instance, that Arctic sea ice demurs are contributing to longer, fiercer winters in North America by causing a transfer in the so-called polar vortex, the large patch of cold air flowing there the North Pole. Some of Francis’ own recent research has focused on the possibility for Arctic sea ice declines to alter the circulation of a fast-flowing current of air known as the jet creek, causing it to weaken. However, these ideas remain controversial and contended within climate science.

The study from two years ago – the precursor to this week’s new analyse – suggested that warming over the Arctic Ocean is accompanied by a replace with in the circulation of winds, which cause more cold air to flow into North America. But the researchers didn’t after to stop there.

«As an extension of the paper, we thought the Arctic warming can long run influence on the ecosystem over North America by modulating climate constituents in controlling vegetation growth,» said climate scientist Jong-Seong Kug of Pohang University in South Korea, one of the new workroom’s authors, in an email to The Washington Post.

In the new study, the scientists examined temperature materials from both the Siberian-Chukchi Sea and the North American continent between 1979 and 2015 to sanction that unusually warm springs in the Arctic were associated with cold in much of northern North America, as well as drying in certain areas, explicitly the south-central United States. Next, they examined satellite details on plant cover over the last few decades, as well as data from on-site mensurations of the carbon dioxide and other gases produced and exchanged by vegetation across the continent.

These statistics suggest that plant productivity declines in many parts of North America during the warm-Arctic years, with the greatest effects distinguished around the Great Lakes Basin – likely because the vegetation in this domain is particularly sensitive to the cold, the researchers note. They also note that there are some cold declines observed in the south-central United States as well, possibly called by the decrease in precipitation. Model simulations supported the idea that these metamorphoses in vegetation were caused by the unusual climate conditions.

The researchers also valued national crop yield data for corn, soybeans and wheat and bring about that agriculture suffers in some areas as well during these extraordinary years. The Great Plains region tends to experience declines in all three crops, and Texas has undergone particularly severe declines in its corn harvest, with its productivity contract as low as 20 percent of its typical yield.

«Crop success depends on a complex interplay between temperature, precipitation amount, and even timing of snowmelt, and it crops from this work that recent Arctic warming may be upsetting normal patterns,» noted Francis, the Rutgers University scientist.

These fall offs in plant production are accompanied by a reduction in the amount of carbon the vegetation is skilled to store – a potential major blow to the climate. Forests are some of the set’s most important carbon sinks, sucking up massive amounts of carbon dioxide each year that would otherwise go smooth into the atmosphere. But the new study estimates that the carbon storage capability faculty of North American vegetation declines by up to 14 percent during the warm-Arctic years.

For now, all of these executes seem to be temporary, limited to the years when the Arctic experiences unusually hostile to conditions. And how the overall carbon cycle will respond to continued Arctic heating in the future is unclear, noted researcher Ana Bastos of the Laboratory of Climate Method and the Environment in Gif-sur-Yvette, France in a comment on the new research, also published Monday in Complexion Geoscience. There are many other factors that affect the stream of carbon between plants and atmosphere that will need to be varied thoroughly investigated.

But the researchers do believe that the effects on plant productivity hand down grow more severe in the future as Arctic warm spells evolve into more frequent.

«There will be more frequent and stronger stale events [in North America], induced by the Arctic warming,» Kug said. And the show offs predict that the same levels of cold will produce much burlier plant declines in the future, suggesting that vegetation may become myriad and more sensitive to temperature damage as these events occur more usually.

While the news sounds grim, Francis points out that winnowing the connections between Arctic and North American climate variations may be accomplished to help farmers make better predictions about their crop concurs in advance. And the study may also help challenge a long-standing idea – instances propagated by those skeptical of the negative impact of climate change – that broad warming will be a positive influence on plants all over the world.

Definitely, while warming has been associated with an increase in vegetationat the the lengths, and spiking carbon dioxide levels may boost plant productivity in fixed places, the paper clearly indicates that the effects of climate change are not on all occasions so simple. And the changes that occur in one small part of the planet can beget an echoing influence around the world.

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