Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Warming Climates of the Arctic and the Tropics Squeeze the Mid-latitudes, Where Most People Live

 By Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News   
Sep 23, 2020

For humans, the mid-latitudes are Earth's climate sweet spots, where much of civilization, including cities and key food production areas, have developed. But those zones are increasingly being pummeled by climate change from both the north and south.

The Arctic is lashing out with the icy whip of an increasingly twisted and unpredictable winter storm track that drives flooding in Great Britain and cold snaps in Canada, while areas like the Southwest United States and around the Mediterranean Sea are drying out as the planet's hot tropical belts expand relentlessly poleward.

Recent research explains how global warming is intensifying those extremes and shows how the planet's climate system is like an accordion—no matter which corner you tug or push, all the bellows in between are affected.

One of the studies, published June 2020 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that winter may not offer much relief from extremes brought by warming. It shows that the impacts of summer Arctic heat can ripple through time, triggering winter cold snaps in northeastern North America and flooding rainstorms in northwestern Europe.


The study links the influx of fresh water from big Arctic melt years with extreme events like the record December rains that flooded the United Kingdom in 2015 and caused $1.9 billion of damage, as well as severe cold snaps in eastern Canada and the U.S., in the Novembers of 2014 and 2017.


At the same time, the global tropics, dominated by oceans that have absorbed most of the heat trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases, are getting hotter and growing poleward, bringing more droughts and heat waves to places like the American Southwest and the Mediterranean region of Europe.


No comments:

Post a Comment