Arctic cyclones. Dr. Stephen Vavrus from the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Winter in the Arctic is cold and dark.  It is also storm season when hurricane-like arctic cyclones traverse the northern waters. That’s from Iceland to Alaska.

These arctic cyclones are characterized by strong localized drops in sea level pressure. So as Arctic-wide decreases in sea level pressure are one of the expected results of climate change Uh oh. Because this could increase extreme Arctic cyclone activity. That’s including powerful storms in the spring and fall.

A study in Geophysical Research Letters uses historical climate model simulations. All demonstrating that there has been an Arctic-wide decrease in sea level pressure. Especially most noteworthy since the 1800’s.

Dr. Stephen Vavrus from the University of Wisconsin-Madison starting this research showing that the Arctic appears to be expressing symptoms expected from “ongoing climate change”.

“The long-term decline in atmospheric pressure over most of the Arctic is consistent with the response typically simulated by climate models to greenhouse warming, and this study finds a general corresponding increase in the frequency of extreme Arctic cyclones since the middle 19th century.”

Tracking changes in Arctic cyclone activity through time. So Vavrus calculated a statistically significant, though minor, increases in extreme Arctic cyclone frequency over the study period. That with increases strongest near the Aleutian Islands and Iceland. Dr. Vavrus suggesting that the effect of climate change on Arctic cyclone activity has been minimal. However future changes in polar climate will drive stronger shifts.

As I received information on, one societally relevant implication is that more storminess probably means more erosion of Arctic coastlines. That’s especially in tandem with declines in buffering sea ice cover. and increases in thawing coastal permafrost,” concluded Dr. Varnus.

In conclusion, erosion of Arctic coastlines has already been growing more severe. Especially during recent decades. So this study points to a contributing factor. One that is becoming an even more recognizable culprit!

Source: Wiley News
For Immediate Release
From: Geophysical Research Letters
Image info: License Some rights reserved by NASA Goddard Photo and Video