Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Climate change the main cause for cold weather in Europe?

The exceptionally cold weather characterized by chilling winds and temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius has been striking Europe for more than a week. According to a scientist Alfred Wegener from the Institute for Polar and Marine Research the main cause for this exceptionally cold weather is climate change, or to be more precise the huge loss of Arctic ice.

Wegener (and some other scientists) believes that complex wind patterns are being changed because the retreat of Arctic sea ice has exposed huge swaths of normally frozen ocean to the atmosphere above.

This has lead to a development of high-pressure weather systems over northern Russia, and they are the ones carrying these freezing winds from the Arctic and Siberia to the rest of the Europe.

Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research confirmed that "the current weather pattern fits earlier predictions of computer models for how the atmosphere responds to the loss of sea ice due to global warming."

The ice free Arctic sea is creating high-pressure weather systems because the water is warmer than the Arctic air above it, and this carries the cold air and freezing winds across the Europe. The scientists are convinced that the retreat of ice from the ocean causes the release of huge amounts of heat from the sea into the significantly colder air above which results in the air to rise. Rising air causes destabilization in the atmosphere and changes the difference in air pressure, also changing wind patterns.

This situation should really help open eyes of many people who believe that climate change is only affecting Earth's polar regions and that they don't have to worry about it.

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