Extreme winter weather becoming more common as Arctic warms, study finds

The sort of severe winter weather that has rattled parts of the US and UK is becoming more common as the Arctic warms, with scientists finding a strong link between high temperatures near the pole and unusually heavy snowfall and frigid weather further south.

Researchers compared daily temperatures from across the Arctic region with something called the accumulated winter season severity index, which grades winter weather based on temperature, snow fall and snow depth, across 12 US cities.. “There’s a remarkably strong correlation between a warm Arctic and cold winter weather further south,” said Judah Cohen, a climatologist at Atmospheric and Environmental Research. “It’s a complex story – global warming is contributing to milder temperatures but is also having unforeseen consequences such as this.”

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Get used to nor'easters -- Arctic warming may mean more severe winters in the Northeast

In fact, a temperature spike in the Arctic meant that the U.S. Northeast was two to four times more likely than usual to experience a bout of extreme winter weather, the scientists reported in a new study.

And yet recent winters in the Northern Hemisphere were more severe than scientists anticipated, said Judah Cohen, the study's lead author and director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, an organization that assesses risks from weather events and climate change.

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