National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Is Arctic warming fueling severe winter weather in the mid-latitudes?

Image of sea ice in the Chukchi Sea captured during NOAA Twin Otter Flight in June 2016. 

October 26, 2016

A recent perspective piece in Nature Climate Change by Jim Overland at PMEL and other scientists discusses the latest research on whether Arctic warming is fueling more severe winter weather in the mid-latitudes, the temperate zone of the Earth between the tropics and the Arctic, and the part of the United States where most Americans live.

Research conducted by a diverse, international group of scientists agree for the first time that the pattern of severe cold winters in the mid-latitudes is primarily based on the state of the jet stream, which is naturally variable. They also emphasize community coordination for both scientific progress and communication to a broader public. The group of researchers also agreed that there is no simple cause-and-effect relationship between a warming Arctic and an emerging pattern of severe winter weather in the mid-latitudes. It’s much more complicated, with different connections in different regions and under different background climate conditions.

Read the perspective piece here as well a Q&A with Jim Overland here

PMEL Project: