It was the warmest December on record in the Arctic, and 2018 has already set a string of records for lowest Arctic sea ice.
Unfortunately for America and the rest of the planet, the best science makes clear that what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. “We long ago anticipated that warming would be greatest in the Arctic owing to the vicious cycle of melting ice and warming oceans,” said climate scientist Mike Mann.
“But what we didn’t anticipate is the way that changing wind patterns could accelerate that process — and along with it, a host of nasty associated surprises.”
Mann, who won the 2018 AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award last week from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, explained that those surprises include “slowing down of ocean currents, and whacky weather patterns in North America associated with weather extremes like droughts, wildfires, floods, and superstorms.”
And those are in addition to the “nasty” associated impacts that scientists have long predicted would result from Arctic warming, such as faster melting of the land-based Greenland ice sheet, which in turn drives the speed up in sea level rise that scientists reported last week.