Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cave Study Links Climate Change To California Droughts

ScienceDaily (Nov. 10, 2009) — California experienced centuries-long droughts in the past 20,000 years that coincided with the thawing of ice caps in the Arctic, according to a new study by UC Davis doctoral student Jessica Oster and geology professor Isabel Montañez.


The researchers don't know exactly what connects Arctic temperatures to precipitation over California. However, climate models developed by others suggest that when Arctic sea ice disappears, the jet stream -- high-altitude winds with a profound influence on climate -- shifts north, moving precipitation away from California.

"If there is a connection to Arctic sea ice then there are big implications for us in California," Montañez said. Arctic sea ice has declined by about 3 percent a year over the past three decades, and some forecasts predict an ice-free Arctic ocean as soon as 2020.


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