Global warming likely to cause colder and snowier winters, scientists say

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.



By RYAN GORMAN

Scientists now believe that global warming is to blame for extreme cold snaps in North America during the winter months – and that it will only keep happening.

The "polar vortex" that plunged Canada and the U.S. into historical cold last winter is said by researchers to have occurred because melting polar ice changes weather patterns, according to a study published earlier this month.

A team of Korean and American scientists asserted in a new study that the melting ice causes the northern jet stream (upper level air flow) to shift south and bring polar air with it.

The polar ice is melting because warmer water is riding the Gulf Stream (ocean currents) from tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean to an area north of Scandinavia.



This causes masses of warm air to destabilize the normally strong polar air mass and send brutally cold air right at Canada and the U.S., according to Slate.

As the atmosphere continues to warm, and ocean water temperatures rise, this effect will only become more pronounced, researchers argue.

The surprising result of global warming, or climate change, will be colder, snowier winters across both countries.

The Eurasian supercontinent also experiences this cooling effect, according to study co-author Seong-Joon Kim.

Kim told Slate the three-year study was inspired by two record-breaking cold snaps over the past decade in his native Korea.

He also blamed a number of other factors, but said the loss of Arctic Sea ice is serving only to intensify the phenomenon.

Are Rumors of Record-Breaking Snowfall This Winter True?
Are Rumors of Record-Breaking Snowfall This Winter True?


Related links:

Parts of South Dakota are buried under eight inches of snow
Heat wave grips New York after area beaches close - but winter may pack a punch
Polar Vortex baby boom arrives in Iowa
Polar vortex expected to make a summer return

The Latest from our Partners