Arctic warming linked to fewer European and US cold weather extremes, study shows

Jun 15, 2014

Climate change is unlikely to lead to more days of extreme cold, similar to those that gripped the USA in a deep freeze last winter, new research has shown.

The Arctic amplification phenomenon refers to the faster rate of warming in the Arctic compared to places further south. It is this phenomenon that has been linked to a spike in the number of severe cold spells experienced in recent years over Europe and North America.

However, new research by University of Exeter expert Dr James Screen has shown that Arctic amplification has actually reduced the risk of cold extremes across large swathes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The intriguing new study, published in leading scientific journal Nature Climate Change, questions growing fears that parts of Europe and North America will experience a greater number, or more severe, extreme cold days over the course of the next century.

Dr Screen, a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, said: "Autumn and winter days are becoming warmer on average, and less variable from day-to-day. Both factors reduce the chance of extremely cold days."

The idea that there was a link between Arctic amplification and extreme weather conditions became prevalent during the severe winter weather that plagued large areas of the United States in January 2014, leading to major transport disruption, power cuts and crop damage.

In his study, Dr Screen examined detailed climate records to show that autumn and winter temperature variability has significantly decreased over the mid-to-high latitude Northern Hemisphere in recent decades.

He found that this has occurred mainly because northerly winds and associated cold days are warming more rapidly than southerly winds and warm days.

Dr Screen said: "Cold days tend to occur when the wind is blowing from the north, bringing Arctic air south into the mid-latitudes. Because the Arctic air is warming so rapidly these cold days are now less cold than they were in the past."

Using the latest mathematical climate modelling, Dr Screen has also been able to show that these changes will continue in to the future, with projected future decreases in temperature variability in all seasons, except summer.

'Arctic amplification decreases temperature variance in northern mid-to-high-latitudes', by James Screen, is published in Nature Climate Change online, on Sunday, June 15.

Explore further: Climate scientist proposes extremely cold 2014 winter link to global warming

More information: Nature Climate Change DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2268

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Large sea ice changes North of Swalbard

Jun 12, 2014

During the last decades warmer Atlantic water has caused a retreat of the ice edge north of Svalbard. In contrast to other areas of the Arctic Ocean, the largest ice loss north of Svalbard occurred during ...

Arctic ice melt sets stage for cold weather

Jun 06, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The dramatic melt-off of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is hitting closer to home than millions of Americans might think. That's because melting Arctic sea ice can trigger a domino effect ...

Recommended for you

Strong quake hits east Indonesia; no tsunami threat

8 hours ago

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Sunday evening, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, and authorities said there was no threat of a tsunami.

Scientists make strides in tsunami warning since 2004

Dec 19, 2014

The 2004 tsunami led to greater global cooperation and improved techniques for detecting waves that could reach faraway shores, even though scientists still cannot predict when an earthquake will strike.

Trade winds ventilate the tropical oceans

Dec 19, 2014

Long-term observations indicate that the oxygen minimum zones in the tropical oceans have expanded in recent decades. The reason is still unknown. Now scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research ...

User comments : 35

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AeroSR71
3.6 / 5 (15) Jun 15, 2014
Makes sense. Unlike most trolls in these comment sections, I let the science dictate my knowledge. I reasoned over last winter here in North America, that winters would have large variability between both extremes due to the increase of temperature (increases in temperature increase entropy). This study makes me re-examine my position.
Shootist
1.9 / 5 (23) Jun 15, 2014
"And no climate model yet has any explanation for the Viking Warm period or the Little Ice Age. They are simply ignored. The Earth has been several degrees warmer and several degrees colder than it is now in historical times, and all this is documented. The notion that the Gulf Stream affected Greenland, the Western Scottish Islands, the Eastern Scottish Islands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and China, all reporting longer growing seasons and earlier spring in the Viking era, is too absurd to consider seriously. Not that I expect rationality to prevail. There are too many grants at stake."

Jerry Pournelle, http://www.jerrypournelle.com

The polar bears will be fine. - Dyson
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (24) Jun 15, 2014
As the real world throws a curve ball into the AGW Cult's doctrine, each day there is a new contradictory story published on global warming.
The only absolute truth about global warming so far, is the billions wasted on AGW "science".
Money that could have solved many of the world's major problems.
http://www.ted.co...iorities
la7dfa
4.1 / 5 (18) Jun 15, 2014
Winters are getting shorter and the grow season increases every decade now. Ice in the arctic is disappearing FAST.

I guess the retards (Shootist & friends) wont stop blabbering, before their mouths get below the water.
runrig
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 15, 2014
I actually disagree with this article.
Winter weather does not depend solely on the "cold" of northerly winds. What is required is a plunge of Arctic air bringing lying snow. In the UK this is most often provided via convective means from the relatively warm seas around us, the most severe cases via E'ly winds. Once snow is lying then the air cools in situ. Dec '10 was a case in point where the air-mass was not especially cold but it gave the coldest Dec for ~100 years.
The link between warm/open E Arctic seas and a more rapid build up of Eurasian snow in late Autumn is a well noted causal factor in severe Euro winters.
kminotaur32
4 / 5 (16) Jun 15, 2014
Got a few scientifically illiterate deniers on here I see. What a surprise.
These people failed physics, and chemistry in high school.
It's not like they would actually comprehend changes in entropy via endothermic reactions.
It's simple thermodynamics!
Rustybolts
1.6 / 5 (10) Jun 15, 2014
Makes sense. Unlike most trolls in these comment sections, I let the science dictate my knowledge. I reasoned over last winter here in North America, that winters would have large variability between both extremes due to the increase of temperature (increases in temperature increase entropy). This study makes me re-examine my position.


I guess I'm a troll. This article is the equivalent as saying my big toe hurts and its linked to walking and running. We didn't need some study to notice the lighter winters thats was happening but this article does nothing to talk about the cause. Useless stuff we already knew.
MR166
1.8 / 5 (15) Jun 15, 2014
"Got a few scientifically illiterate deniers on here I see. What a surprise.
These people failed physics, and chemistry in high school."

You just have to laugh at fervor of the true believers. Their only proof of warming that is caused by mankind is 25 or so obviously flawed computer models that have been subsidized by the governments of the world. They read all the various government subsidized excuses for the failures of the models and mistake them for science.

They are among the educated but still ignorant that have been programmed by progressive education.
Dr_toad
Jun 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1.8 / 5 (15) Jun 15, 2014
Got a few scientifically illiterate deniers on here I see. What a surprise.
These people failed physics, and chemistry in high school.
It's not like they would actually comprehend changes in entropy via endothermic reactions.
It's simple thermodynamics!

Clap...clap..clap..
Wow!! Someone went to high school.
Congratulations.
Maybe this is the genius the AGW Cult has been waiting on to crack the mystery of all their failed computer models. After all it's simple thermodynamics.
runrig
3.8 / 5 (10) Jun 16, 2014
Runrig, if I remember, you're a meteorologist?
What little I know makes me ask what the significance of a persistent Siberian high pressure during winter? I read something about this a few years ago, but I'm old and dim.. ;)

Early and more rapid/greater extent of the Eurasian snowfield causes a consequent early/greater build of HP there. This causes a distortion in the Polar jet flow hemispherically, which later in the winter amplifies to allow the HP to move to the Arctic - so allowing a meridional extension to bring Arctic air to W Europe.
However Other feed-backs have to be in place as well.
ThomasQuinn
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 16, 2014
As the real world throws a curve ball into the AGW Cult's doctrine, each day there is a new contradictory story published on global warming.
The only absolute truth about global warming so far, is the billions wasted on AGW "science".
Money that could have solved many of the world's major problems.
http://www.ted.co...iorities


From the transcript in the link YOU came up with, right at the beginning: "We identified 10 of the biggest challenges in the world, and I will just briefly read them: **climate change,** communicable diseases, conflicts, education, financial instability, governance and corruption, malnutrition and hunger, population migration, sanitation and water, and subsidies and trade barriers."

So is this really something you want to quote in support of your denialist position, someone who starts his list of the ten greatest challenges to face with climate change?
ThomasQuinn
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 16, 2014
They are among the educated but still ignorant that have been programmed by progressive education.


Yeah, progressive education is sooo bad. Like how they stopped teaching the Lost Cause/Dunning School interpretation of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. And how they no longer teach children that the Bible is infallible and that evolution is a lie by Satan to steal your soul. And how it's good and right to die for your country and be unconditionally loyal to its leaders.

In fact, it all went down hill when those progressives began teaching that the sun is at the center of the universe, that the earth existed before October 23, 4004 BC and that the luminiferous aether theory is supposedly nonsense.

Yeah, progressives can keep all that progress of theirs. Progress never done nobody no good.
MR166
2.5 / 5 (11) Jun 16, 2014
Right TQ wait until common core math wipes out the last little bit of skill from our labor force or bastardizes history to the point that the US becomes the aggressor in WWII. Next they will teach that it was the Democrats that ended slavery or passed the civil rights legislation of the 60s.
Egleton
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 16, 2014
You Yanks see everything through red and blue lenses. Boring!
Landrew
2.2 / 5 (13) Jun 16, 2014
Science was based on respect for people who disagree on the evidence. Nothing in science allows for using names like, "denier" or "troll" for people who don't share your opinion.

There's plenty of disagreement on climate change. Asking questions is the root of all new knowledge. Squelching debate is not.
thermodynamics
4.2 / 5 (10) Jun 16, 2014
Science was based on respect for people who disagree on the evidence. Nothing in science allows for using names like, "denier" or "troll" for people who don't share your opinion.

There's plenty of disagreement on climate change. Asking questions is the root of all new knowledge. Squelching debate is not.


Landrew: Please read through the discussion on this link.

http://phys.org/n...firstCmt

Read the posts of Cantdrive85 and then tell me that the word troll or worse is not appropriate. He has been reported to the moderator for turning a physics site into a site for bigotry. I hope he gets kicked off the site because he spills bile into the discussions. Then let me know if he deserves to be treated with respect. The reality is that with the laws in Germany he would be eligible for a time in the lockup. In the US we just rant at him because we can't do anything else.
Landrew
2 / 5 (12) Jun 16, 2014
Since the air hasn't warmed for approximately 15 years, where is the heat coming from? Perhaps the ocean is releasing some of the heat stored during the last warm spell.
Captain Stumpy
4.1 / 5 (14) Jun 16, 2014
You Yanks see everything through red and blue lenses. Boring!
@Egleton
not all the yanks... just the stupid ones
Nothing in science allows for using names like, "denier" or "troll" for people who don't share your opinion
@Landrew
The use of the terms are NOT due to science, but the lack thereof. The denier and the troll etc are people who, for reasons of their own, deny the actual science for the sake of personal reason, and comment thus. See antigorical posts (pick one... most are troll comments)
There's plenty of disagreement on climate change
between people who are NOT well versed in SCIENCE. if you look at the empirical evidence, then you can only come to certain conclusions, which is why 97% of scientists agree on the subject.

politics is a different matter, and I am not going into it because much of the against-the-grain "deniers" have a political or other agenda.

anyone who simply looks at the evidence will conclude the same as the scientists

Dr_toad
Jun 16, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
runrig
4 / 5 (12) Jun 16, 2014
Science was based on respect for people who disagree on the evidence. Nothing in science allows for using names like, "denier" or "troll" for people who don't share your opinion.

There's plenty of disagreement on climate change. Asking questions is the root of all new knowledge. Squelching debate is not.
The two words are entirely appropriate for the our little family on here. We (the science advocates) know them well. That is precisly what they are.
Deniers and Trolls.

And no, there is not "plenty of disagreement on climate change" unless you get your information from denialist Blogs or the right-wing press.
Science is overwhelmingly agreed on climate change being Anthroprogenic.
runrig
3.8 / 5 (13) Jun 16, 2014
Since the air hasn't warmed for approximately 15 years, where is the heat coming from? Perhaps the ocean is releasing some of the heat stored during the last warm spell.


The arctic has warmed plenty - look at the sea-ice melt graphs - the air there is only barely measured, and that at the peripheries. The "lull" in global ave temp rise is largely explained by the persistent cool ENSO (La Nina) E Pacific equatorial anomaly (adds and enormous amount of heat to the atmosphere via LH release).
See how things change when the El Ninos come back.
Unbiased Observer
1.6 / 5 (13) Jun 16, 2014
Runrig and crew... science advocates? Is that honestly how you view yourselves?

One of you made a script that upvotes your little group and you (as a whole) sock puppet around trying to flail anyone who disagrees with you. Arguments are met with personal attacks, logic with emotion, and science with dogma… and then you have the audacity to try to take on the mantle of a defender of science?!

I just want to know, do you believe that you defend science?
Maggnus
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 16, 2014
Runrig and crew... science advocates? Is that honestly how you view yourselves?

One of you made a script that upvotes your little group and you (as a whole) sock puppet around trying to flail anyone who disagrees with you. Arguments are met with personal attacks, logic with emotion, and science with dogma… and then you have the audacity to try to take on the mantle of a defender of science?!
Seriously, what the hell are you reading? There are no arguments, except that liberals or democrats or socialists promote some nebulous agenda to steal your freedoms and have somehow convinced the world's scientists to join in. There is no logic, and certainly no science. I don't know if Runrig considers himself a "defender of science" what ever the hell that is supposed to mean, but he certainly displays more knowledge than ANY denialist anti-science troll that has posted to this site.

I just want to know, do you have anything beyond pretended outrage? Unbiased you are not!
runrig
4.3 / 5 (12) Jun 16, 2014
Runrig and crew... science advocates? Is that honestly how you view yourselves?
One of you made a script that upvotes your little group and you (as a whole) sock puppet around trying to flail anyone who disagrees with you. Arguments are met with personal attacks, logic with emotion, and science with dogma… and then you have the audacity to try to take on the mantle of a defender of science?!

I just want to know, do you believe that you defend science?

Ah tis biased observer welcome!
1st I am me and no other.
2nd *they* do not disagree with *me* - they disagree with climate science ... for no other reason, that it "disagree"s with them... as in their ideological affliction.
3rd I understand the science. I generally think if you are ignorant of something then you should shut the f**k up with your judgments on it. It's a well known fact that the less you know about a particular subject the easier it is to simplify and jump to incorrect conclusions.

cont
runrig
4.3 / 5 (12) Jun 16, 2014
Cont

Any "arguments", our little family of deniers/trolls have, have been heard. *We*, ad nauseam, have all been there and got a wardrobe full of tea-shirts.
*We*, have refuted the "argument" multiple times with links to peer-reviewed science.... which is merely met with .... socialism, for the grants, friends-review, AGW contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Its the Sun, Its CR's, It's happened before, No SUV's then, CO2 follows not leads, Al Gore is a hypocrite. Dyson is a God, the Ice is not melting, the ice has recovered. Antarctic ice is increasing... blah, blah, bl***dy blah.
FFS
No wonder *some* get exasperated.
And yes, I do set myself up to defend science here, on this science site, against our trolls.
Welcome back Troll.
OdinsAcolyte
1 / 5 (10) Jun 16, 2014
Really?

I see no conclusive proof anyplace. None.
If there is, shall you be the one to give up modern life and return to what?
No combustion? Shall you volunteer to walk everyplace the remaining days of your short life?
Freeze in the coming ice age (more likely than warming)? Give up all that has made you? Why not just go down with your culture? The only viable solution to this problem (as seen by warming alarmists) is radical population reduction. Indeed that is the only hope for a mankind that breeds because it is their 'right'. Overpopulation is the true problem. Let the wars begin.
thermodynamics
4.6 / 5 (11) Jun 16, 2014
Really?

I see no conclusive proof anyplace. None.
If there is, shall you be the one to give up modern life and return to what?
No combustion? Shall you volunteer to walk everyplace the remaining days of your short life?
Freeze in the coming ice age (more likely than warming)? Give up all that has made you? Why not just go down with your culture? The only viable solution to this problem (as seen by warming alarmists) is radical population reduction. Indeed that is the only hope for a mankind that breeds because it is their 'right'. Overpopulation is the true problem. Let the wars begin.


OA: Where do loons like you come from? There is no evidence that anything you are spouting is real other than the issue of overpopulation.

Ice age? Really? Show me the basis for a claim like that.

Give up modern conveniences? Show me why that is necessary.

Just because you don't understand conclusive proof does not mean that it is not there. It only means you are ignorant.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2014
The denier and the troll etc are people who, for reasons of their own, deny the actual science for the sake of personal reason, and comment thus.
You mean like you denying the temperature trends of the last 17+ years?

between people who are NOT well versed in SCIENCE. if you look at the empirical evidence, then you can only come to certain conclusions, which is why 97% of scientists agree on the subject.
The empirical evidence clearly shows that global warming has been on hiatus these past 18 years. Why do AGWites deny this?

anyone who simply looks at the evidence will conclude the same as the scientists
I think Judith Curry might disagree, and she is a climate scientist.

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2014
Science was based on respect for people who disagree on the evidence. Nothing in science allows for using names like, "denier" or "troll" for people who don't share your opinion.

There's plenty of disagreement on climate change. Asking questions is the root of all new knowledge. Squelching debate is not.
The two words are entirely appropriate for the our little family on here. We (the science advocates) know them well.
This is a lie. You are an AGWite obstructionist. You do everything in your power to lead people away from the discussion of Global Warming, as defined, and opt instead to discuss localized trivialities.

That is precisly what they are.
Deniers and Trolls.
This is precisely what you are.

And no, there is not "plenty of disagreement on climate change" unless you get your information from denialist Blogs or the right-wing press.
Science is overwhelmingly agreed on climate change being Anthroprogenic.
What climate change? Be specific. Where has the climate fundamentally changed, only since 1950? Are there new vast deserts ...anywhere? No? Are there new vast lakes …anywhere? No?

ubavontuba
1 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2014
Runrig and crew... science advocates? Is that honestly how you view yourselves?

One of you made a script that upvotes your little group and you (as a whole) sock puppet around trying to flail anyone who disagrees with you. Arguments are met with personal attacks, logic with emotion, and science with dogma… and then you have the audacity to try to take on the mantle of a defender of science?!

I just want to know, do you believe that you defend science?
Well said.

ThomasQuinn
5 / 5 (4) Jun 17, 2014
Just to put matters into perspective:

There are orders of magnitude more well-qualified historians who claim that the American Civil War had nothing to do with slavery, or that the Soviet and American space programs both left people to die in space, than there are well-qualified scientists who deny AGW.

In fact, there are more adherents to Velikovsky in serious scientific circles than there are those who disbelieve AGW.
MR166
2 / 5 (4) Jun 17, 2014
TQ you are correct about the Civil War. Slavery was not the only issue. States rights was another reason for the war. The south wanted a weaker central government. As it is plain to see, they were correct since the federal government has usurped way too much power.
ThomasQuinn
5 / 5 (4) Jun 17, 2014
I didn't say "not the only issue". There are more serious historians who say that slavery **had nothing to do** with the American Civil War, which is simply BS, than there are serious scientists who deny AGW.

States' rights and slavery are intertwined when it comes to the Civil War - back in the 1840s, the same people (in many cases) who would claim to support States' Rights in the late 1850s were staunch opponents thereof, because it was used, by the North, to hinder expansion in the Southwest. The South, which as you claim wanted a weaker central government, in fact had a far stronger central government than the North during the Civil War, with Jefferson Davis acting like a true autocrat. Your remark that "they were correct" is entirely your own value-judgement.

You are right that the war wasn't solely about slavery - for the South, it was about protecting the interests of the ultra-rich against both emancipation of slaves and of poor whites, as is shown by the Redeemer-governments
antialias_physorg
4.4 / 5 (7) Jun 17, 2014
Their only proof of warming that is caused by mankind is 25 or so obviously flawed computer models

As the real world throws a curve ball into the AGW Cult's doctrine

Which one of the two words "Arctic warming" is too complicated for you guys?
Landrew
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 17, 2014
This is not the science I was taught. Disagreements are resolved by gathering and testing data. Opponents are not labeled with pejorative names. Certitude of opinion has no place in science; that's the purview of religion.

The climate debate has been hijacked and subverted by politics.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2014
More than just the climate debate has been subverted by politics. Funding in many fields of research has been taken over by big government. This has some benefits in that projects will be funded when private industry refuses but it also has one great downside in that governments are not unbiased and they can skew the results of this research to fit their needs. Governments first and foremost concern is it's own growth and survival. The well being of it's citizens is secondary to this concern.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.