Monday, October 27, 2014

Global Warming Has Doubled The Risk Of Extreme Winters In Europe

by Jeff Spross Posted on October 27, 2014

Global warming has doubled the chances that any given winter in Europe or northern Asia will be unusually severe, according to new research.

Specifically, temperatures have risen at the poles much faster than around the rest of the planet, leading to the collapse of Arctic sea ice coverage and altering weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. The research was recently published in Nature Geoscience, and relied on a the combined output of 100 different simulations — “the most comprehensive computer modeling study to date,” as The Guardian put it.

Several recent severe winters in Europe have already been associated with the recent years where the melting of the Arctic ice cap was most severe. And by the 2030s, the Arctic is expected to be completely free of ice in the late summer.

The finding pounds home the point that, rather than simply delivering an evenly-spread increase in heat around the planet, global warming leads to more instances of extreme weather in all forms, as well as wider swings to more extreme temperatures for different regions. “The origin of frequent Eurasian severe winters is global warming,” Professor Masato Mori at the University of Tokyo — the paper’s lead author — told The Guardian.


“The agreement between observations in the real world and these computer models is very important in giving us more confidence that this [doubled risk of severe winters] is a real effect,” Professor Adam Scaife, a climate change expert at the United Kingdom’s Met Office who was not part of the research team, also told The Guardian.

“The balance of evidence suggests this is real.”

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due out November 2, will warn that climate change may have “serious, pervasive and irreversible” impacts on human society, according to Reuters. The IPCC has found a 95 percent certainty that global emissions of greenhouse gases from human use of fossil fuels have been the primary driver of global temperature increases since the 1950s. And because the effect of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is cumulative, further global temperature increases and melting Arctic ice are a veritable certainty. But the report also added that “a combination of adaptation and substantial, sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can limit climate change risks.”



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