Climate Change Triggers Winter Cooling in Northern Hemisphere?

In a twist that deepens the complexities of the impacts of “global warming,” a new study featured in Science Magazine reports that the warmer-than-average summers it is causing may be linked to colder and more extreme winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

The general consensus among climate scientists is that global average temperatures have been rising since the 1800s, with more extreme warming evident in the past 40 years. However, winters in the Northern Hemisphere have actually become colder on average in some places, including southern Canada, the eastern US and northern Eurasia, for instance England’s record setting cold streak in December 2010.

The study, authored by Judah Cohen and colleagues, examines climate and weather data to estimate Eurasian snow cover, which they speculate may have been – and may continue to be – a trigger for colder and more extreme winters in the Northern Hemisphere.

Increased autumn snow cover in Eurasian regions such as Siberia, the authors say, could strengthen a semi-permanent high-pressure system that reinforces a climate phenomenon called the Arctic Oscillation, which steers frigid air southward to mid-latitude regions throughout the winter.

Rather than show a direct causal relationship between warm summers and colder winters, the study presents a compelling set of facts that will enable climate scientists to examine these trends in future studies. The researchers suggest that climate cycles such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation do not accurately explain regional cooling trends experienced in the Northern Hemisphere over the past couple of decades.

In summary, by developing a better understanding of autumn snow cover variability and incorporating such data into climate models, scientists may be able to better predict winter weather forecasts in the Northern Hemisphere.

This data may also deepen our comprehension of the complex phenomenon of global warming, including the fact that it may be more helpful to refer to it by the term used by US President Barack Obama’s chief climate scientist John Holdren: “global climate disruption,” as people are less confused by weather extremes when it is framed this way.

ACT released its Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather report in September 2009. The report, authored by Dr. Gordon McBean, comments that climate change adaptation in smaller communities will be more effective with access to current, downscaled climate modelling and monitoring. If autumn snow cover variability leads to regional cooling in parts of Canada, decision-makers can use this data to better prepare, protect and safeguard Canadian communities against the impacts of extreme weather.

Article created with ACT researcher Timothy Shah


Comments (6)

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  1. klem says:

    That’s right, global warming is really global cooling which of course is all bad.

  2. Deborah says:

    It’s not that simple, Klem. What this article tells us is that we are seeing increasing global climate extremes, from measurable warming on a yearly basis, to severe cold weather events. The cold events do not change the upward climb of the warming overall, they just create enormous variability, which is extending outside our coping range on a yearly basis. We care about this because it means an increased variety of extreme risk to the economy and the well-being of citizens. I believe we should help people prepare for this and so does the insurance industry, because their payouts are skyrocketing as the extreme events multiply.

  3. klem says:

    How long must you observe normal climate variability before you Believers will admit that you have been observing is normal climate variability?

  4. Saskboy says:

    You’re a misleading person/troll, Klem.

    I’m taking a couple minutes to let others know what sort of junk comments you leave anywhere someone is talking about climate change.

    Global warming means that the global average temperature rises, it doesn’t mean a certain region or even hemisphere will be noticeably warmer year round than the normal temps. Your infantile reasoning is really tiresome, and you should stop spreading it around the WWW.

  5. Deborah says:

    Check out NASA’s global temperature data for the past 131 years:

    Is this normal? We don’t know, but it seems to be happening much faster than past patterns scientists have either observed or identified from ice cores, etc.

    Is it having a damaging effect on humans and other species that are used to a specific coping range? Yup!

    The real question, Klem, is do you care about these effects people are experiencing? If you were a Pacific Islander facing the submersion of your home, for instance, perhaps you would feel differently.

  6. Nice thread! I will most definitely book mark it for future reference.

    Thank you!

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