Videographer Peter Sinclair has another excellent video for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media featuring leading Arctic experts:
One of the featured scientists is Dr. Jennifer Francisof Rutgers’ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. We’ve featured discussion of Francis’s important work here.
Francis was lead author of a 2012 Geophysical Research Letters study, “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes,” which found that the loss of Arctic ice favors “extreme weather events that result from prolonged conditions, such as drought, flooding, cold spells, and heat waves.” You can find some good explanations of her findings here.
The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang featured a guest post by Francis last Friday, “Shrinking Arctic ice and the wicked backlash on our weather.” Here are some key excerpts:
Heat waves. Drought. Flooding. Cold spells. Wildfires. The climate system is changing before our very eyes, and there is no more glaring proof than the record-shattering loss of Arctic sea ice this summer.
Via NASA: “The area covered by older and thicker sea ice in the Arctic diminished by almost 50 percent between 1980 and 2012.”
And, since overall the ice thinned out, the volume dropped by 75% during that time, making a reversal of this trend anytime soon exceedingly improbable. Francis notes:
Fossil fuels – such as oil, coal, and natural gas – are the main source of these added greenhouse gases, as they’re burned to provide the energy that heats our homes, lights our streets, and runs our vehicles. It now appears, however, that a gradual warming may not be the primary concern, as the gases may also fuel extreme weather around the world.
How does warming fuel extreme weather? Francis explains: