The United States would have to wait for spring a little while this year, a new research bared, because ironically amid the threats of global warming, there is winter more to come. Thanks to the Pacific Ocean heating up, it prompted polar air in the northern hemisphere to bring in more chilly nights and extreme wet conditions.
Initially, scientists thought that the anticipated record-breaking winter is either simply caused by a strange but natural phenomenon or the colossal ices in the Arctic region are thawing. However, one paper published in the Science journal proposed a seemingly ridiculous and paradoxical theory that the warming oceans in Western Pacific is likely to blame for it.
As per Tim Palmer, lone author of the paper and a professor at Oxford University, the trade winds that caused rising temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are the same winds responsible for the jet stream called Rossby waves to go up toward the Arctic. Aside from the tropical storms and typhoons that bring about heavy downpours, these trade winds also thrust a system of cold weather over the U.S. and parts of Europe. This situation is plausibly worsened by the increasing carbon emissions caused by humans, Palmer said.
"In fact, consistent with that, we had these fantastically strong tropical typhoons in the western Pacific, not least Haiyan which broke all records of wind strength," Palmer told NBC News, while noting that the temperatures in the Pacific were "probably the warmest ever recorded this past year."
The warming of the Pacific is also caused by El Niño, or the recurring band of warm ocean temperatures along the Pacific coasts of South America. Palmer explained that on the onset of El Niño, the collapse or reversal of the wind patterns influences all the other weather systems in the world. Countries would mostly experience extreme weathers shifts, from heavy rainfall in California to dry spells in Australia.
For 30 years, Palmer has examined the trends in climate change and how it has affected the U.S. He found that El Niño has gotten stronger since 1990s, hence warm water continue to pile up in the Pacific and it could be an endless cycle of warm down South and cold up North.
"There are various links in a long chain, and part of my message is that climate is a complex system," Palmer said. "Interaction between natural climate variability and man-made climate change are coming together in a perfect storm."