Cold winters paradox in global heat record highs

Published by Redbran - Tuesday, May 14, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: npj Climate and Atmospheric Science

February 2024 is now recognized as the hottest month ever recorded globally. This worldwide record starkly contrasts with the extremely cold temperatures observed in North America, Asia, and parts of Europe.

This situation illustrates the paradoxical climate phenomenon known as WACC (Warm Arctic-Cold Continent), which refers to the rapid warming of the Arctic causing intense cold waves in some mid-latitude regions.

A team led by Professor Jin-Ho Yoon and including doctoral student Yungi Hong, from the School of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, recently analyzed the evolution of these extreme phenomena. Their work, based on climate data simulations provided by the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble project, has been published in the journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science.

The findings indicate that, despite global warming, WACC events intensified into the 2020s. However, Professor Yoon points out that these phenomena are expected to significantly decrease after the 2030s. This decline does not mean a reduction in extreme weather events but rather an increase in the frequency and severity of mild winters, although cold waves will become less frequent but potentially more severe.

Researchers at GIST predict a sharp decrease in WACC events after the 2030s, leading to extreme weather events in the coming decades.
Credit: Jin-Ho Yoon of GIST

These discoveries necessitate an update of climate models to improve forecasting accuracy. They also highlight the challenges faced by global communities, particularly those historically affected by WACC events. As Mr. Hong notes, understanding and responding to these changes determine our future adaptation to winter climate conditions.
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