Sea Ice Loss Drives Jet Stream South, Increasing Rain in the North, Drought in the South

A new study offers an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012. The study found that loss of Arctic sea ice shifts the jet stream further south than normal resulting in increased rain during the summer in northwest Europe.

Climate Progress

Jet Stream Shift

And also Science, here.

Falling Rain, Rising Waters: Central Europe Gasping

Unaccountably, US papers have carried little front-page news about the disaster drenching Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and other areas of Central Europe.  And when news is carried it is difficult to find mention of how extreme this weather has been, how recent the former extreme weather has been (2002) or why this might be happening.  So here’s a catch-up from Climate Progress.

The statue of Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, before it was submerged under the rising water from the Vltava river on Kampa Island in Prague, Czech Republic [Photograph: Vova Pomortzeff/Demotix/Corbis]

The statue of Indian spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, before it was submerged under the rising water from the Vltava river on Kampa Island in Prague, Czech Republic [Photograph: Vova Pomortzeff/Demotix/Corbis]

Widespread flooding throughout Central Europe has forced thousands from their homes and killed at least eleven people, with several others missing. The heavy rainexpected to continue through Tuesday.

In the Czech Republic, a nationwide state of emergency is in effect and more than 3,000 people have been evacuated across the western part of the country. As the BBCreports, as of Monday morning, the River Vlatava (seen above, via AP) was flowing at 2,800 cubic meters per second — 10 times its normal volume — and is expected to rise again on Tuesday.

the Danube river rose above 12.2 meters on Monday, the highest level ever recorded.

 Germany’s National Meteorological Service estimates that 178 percent more rain fell in May than in the previous year. In Austria, the meteorological service said two months of rain had fallen in just two days. Britain suffered the rainiest spring on record. And in Italy, it was the wettest spring in 150 years and coldest in 20.

study released earlier this year by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association confirmed what scientists have long been saying about the role of climate change in driving extreme precipitation. The study found that extreme precipitation events will become more frequent this century as climate change continues to warm the planet, predicting 20-30 percent more precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere by 2099.

And increasingly, scientists are connecting record Arctic sea ice loss to an increase in extreme weather due to the weakened jet stream. As NOAA explained in a 2012 news release, “… with more solar energy going into the Arctic Ocean because of lost ice, there is reason to expect more extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall, heat waves, and flooding in North America and Europe.”

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Or if this is too wet, you could read about the historic drought in New Mexico, causing major wild fires….