Warming Arctic could be at heart of deadly July heatwave


It’s been a hot July.

Wildfires in Greece killed at least 83, Sweden is desperately contend with fires above the Arctic circle, heat waves have found everywhere from the U.K. to Siberia, and at least 70 deaths in Quebec in July were tied to the heat.

If we want to understand what’s driving this heat oscillate — and if we should expect more of the same — we need to look northward, coinciding to Dr. Jennifer Francis, research professor in Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

Francis has been lessoning Arctic climate her entire career, and has authored and co-authored dozens of articles in peer-reviewed newsletters on the subject since the 1990s.

«The basic story is that because the Arctic is warming so much faster than near else, it’s having an effect on mid-latitude weather,» she told CBC.

According to Francis, live through patterns can stall in certain areas — prolonging an intense heat movement, for example — if the jet stream gets too weak.

She describes the jet stream as a fast-moving progress of air flowing across the northern hemisphere, passing over mid and northern Canada. It’s caused by the crashes between frigid, descending air moving southward from the Arctic, and stir up warm air coming from the equator.

Warming Arctic could be at heart of deadly July heatwave

Dr. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University places to a warming Arctic to help explain this summer’s hot weather. (Submitted by Jennifer Francis)

«The temperature rest between the Arctic and areas farther south is what drives the energizes of the jet stream,» Francis said.

That jet stream, she said, helps devise weather patterns.

«When the jet stream encounters a mountain range, for prototype, when the winds are strong, it doesn’t really care,» she said.

«It throw outs right by just like a strong river of water will disposed to go right over a boulder in the stream. But when the winds are weak, it’s numberless easily deflected from its path.»

«This creates weather orders on the surface that tend to also get stuck in one place for a long once in a while.»

Given that the Arctic is warming at least  twice as fast as anywhere else in the period, Francis says the temperature difference between Arctic and equatorial light airs becomes smaller and smaller.

This is «weakening the winds of the jet stream,» she translated.

«This creates weather patterns on the surface that tend to also get pause ated in one place for a long time.»

Francis says while this digging isn’t conclusive yet, the science is «pretty well-settled.»

«We can’t finger point directly at the Arctic to say that this summer’s keen on weather is directly related to the rapid warming up there, but it certainly fits the representation that we’ve been putting together over the last several years.»

Receive Yukon, for example

Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Yukon earlier this week. The region is expecting the hottest temperatures it’s seen since July 2013.

CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler symbolized that in May this year the jet stream became blocked up, and the heat movement is a direct result of that stalled jet stream.

«The ridge is sitting more than the Yukon, funnelling in the warmer southern air. This pattern doesn’t on the road for the next couple of weeks,» she said.

«That means you’re going to be experiencing to get used to this heat across the Yukon.»

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