Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study

Date:
October 28, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
A new study offers an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012. The study found that loss of Arctic sea ice shifts the jet stream further south than normal resulting in increased rain during the summer in northwest Europe.

This shows the average location of the jet stream during wet summer months over northwest Europe. The arrows represent the winds at roughly 10 kilometers above the Earth's surface. The orange and red arrows show the strongest winds that make up the jet stream.
Credit: James Screen, University of Exeter

A new study offers an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012. The study found that loss of Arctic sea ice shifts the jet stream further south than normal resulting in increased rain during the summer in northwest Europe.

Dr James Screen from the University of Exeter used a computer model to investigate how the dramatic retreat of Arctic sea ice influences the European summer climate. He found that the pattern of rainfall predicted by the model closely resembles the rainfall pattern of recent summers. The study is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Dr Screen said: "The results of the computer model suggest that melting Arctic sea ice causes a change in the position of the jet stream and this could help to explain the recent wet summers we have seen.

"The study suggests that loss of sea ice not only has an effect on the environment and wildlife of the Arctic region but has far reaching consequences for people living in Europe and beyond."

Jet streams are currents of strong winds high in the atmosphere -- around the height at which aeroplanes fly. These winds steer weather systems and their rain. Normally in summer the jet stream lies between Scotland and Iceland and weather systems pass north of Britain. When the jet stream shifts south in summer, it brings unseasonable wet weather to Britain and northwest Europe causing havoc for tourism and farming.

The model suggests that while summer rainfall increases in northwest Europe, Mediterranean regions will receive less rain. The effects are not limited to Europe -- weather systems as far as North America could also be influenced.

The annual average extent of Arctic sea ice is currently declining at about half a million square kilometres per decade -- equivalent to about twice the area of the UK. The study compared weather patterns during low sea ice conditions as seen in recent years to weather patterns during high sea ice conditions typical of the late 1970s. The model did not use estimates of how much sea ice there will be in the future, and so this study cannot predict future weather. The results do suggest however that if sea ice loss continues as it has over recent decades, the risk of wet summers may increase.

Other studies have suggested that recent ocean warming of the North Atlantic could also be responsible for more summer rain in northwest Europe. It is likely that several other factors, combined with the impact of melting Arctic sea ice, explain the recent run of wet summers.

The next step is to use estimates of future sea ice loss to make predictions of how further melting could influence summer rainfall in Europe in the years to come.

Jet stream animation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6dvvVKLh9o&feature=youtu.be


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J A Screen. Influence of Arctic sea ice on European summer precipitation. Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8 (4): 044015 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044015

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028205410.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, October 28). Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028205410.htm
University of Exeter. "Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028205410.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins