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Weather Talk: Does arctic ice melt correlate with extreme weather?

Is our weather growing more extreme? And is this being caused by diminishing Arctic ice? Recent published research has yielded a variety of answers to these questions but no clear consensus. But here is the general theory: As the area covered by ...

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Is our weather growing more extreme? And is this being caused by diminishing Arctic ice?

Recent published research has yielded a variety of answers to these questions but no clear consensus. But here is the general theory: As the area covered by ice in the Arctic Ocean decreases, more and more summer solar radiation is absorbed by the Arctic Ocean as opposed to being reflected back into space by ice.  Arctic air temperatures are warming more than anywhere else on Earth.  

The theory that this can make mid-latitude weather more extreme is based on the idea that the warming of Arctic air can change the shape of the Jet Stream; sometimes bottling the cold air up north and sometimes allowing a bulge of Arctic air to drop southward. Wind patterns in the Arctic as measured by the Arctic Oscillation Index (AO) do show an increase in variability over the past 20 to 30 years, but this is too casual a relationship to yield any proof so far. 

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