A new climate change study has uncovered a link between extreme weather patterns and melting ice caps in the Arctic. The changes indicated in the study include the slower eastward movement of huge weather systems, which allows more time for extreme weather to develop. While not conclusive, the study could lead to others that help governments plan their resource management in anticipation of the worst.
Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, experts in China and the United States said they could not conclusively say the Arctic thaw caused more extreme weather – even though they did find evidence of a relationship between the two. ”The study contributes to a growing body of evidence that … the melting Arctic has wide-ranging implications for people living in the middle latitudes,” lead author Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told Reuters.
Even though the study was dismissed as inconclusive by some experts, implications for people across the world could be very real. ”For people on the streets, what really matters is whether the extremes are changing or not. But from the scientific perspective we want to understand why,” said James Screen, an expert at Exeter University in England.
In September, the U.N.’s panel of climate scientists raised the probability that most global warming since 1950 was caused by humans – mostly by burning fossil fuels – to 95 percent from 90 in a 2007 assessment. So, while a more conclusive study might help to predict the changes, it won’t do anything to prevent them – perhaps a more pressing issue to focus on.