Climate change responsible for extreme winters in the U.S. & UK: researchers say

Intensely chilly winters in the United States and Britain may be an outcome of indirect effects of climate change, according to a new study by University of Sheffield researchers.

The research team led by Prof. Edward Hanna of University of Sheffield found that increasing global temperatures are increasingly warming the Arctic, which is influencing the high-altitude corridor of fast-moving air called jet stream, causing severe cold snaps.

They also determined it might be responsible for New York’s record snowfall during the winter of 2014-15, and abnormally cold winters in the U.K. in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Sharing findings of their study, Hanna said, “In the last one to two decades the warming Arctic could well have been amplifying the effects of the wavy patterns. This may have contributed to some recent extreme cold winter spells along the eastern seaboard of the United States, in eastern Asia, and at times over the UK.”

He also expressed hope that improving their ability to predict climate change-caused jet streams would be very beneficial for communities and businesses as they would be able to better prepare for severe winter weather.

Lead research Prof. Hanna was a member of an international team of researchers that included climate experts from the U.S. Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The researchers published their findings in the latest edition of the journal Nature Climate Change.