Global warming – you must be joking! How melting Arctic ice is driving harsh winters

"Historic" snowfalls have the US northeast this week, with Buffalo, New York under an astonishing 2.4m (8ft) of snow – enough to cause some roofs to cave in under the pressure…Scientists now have evidence that these persistent extreme weather patterns are increasing in their frequency, due to the rapid heating up of the Arctic that is changing the behaviour of the jet stream, and in turn, the polar vortex. And Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University, one of the leading US scientists studying the relationship between Arctic warming and changes in the jet stream, believes that it’s thanks to ‘global warming’ that northern hemisphere weather is becoming more extreme – and it’s not about to get any better.

Read the entire article at theecologist.org »

Could volcanoes help slow global warming?

Volcanic eruptions from Iceland to Alaska may not only be messing with air travel. They could be helping slow global warming. A new study concluded that small volcanic eruptions from 2000 to 2013 may have ejected more of the atmosphere-cooling sulfur dioxide gas into Earth’s upper atmosphere than previously thought, and that they may have made a significant contribution to the slowing of global warming over the past decade and a half…Until now, volcanic eruptions weren’t included in climate projections, since these events are nearly impossible to predict, according to Alan Robock, a climatologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., who was not involved in the study.

Read the entire article at 13wmaz.com »

The case for the cranberry, New Jersey’s native Thanksgiving fruit

Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, pumpkin picking. Given the preeminence of the orange squash and the number of products using its name, it’d be easy to think there’s no other fall flavor. Yet what about the pride of the Pine Barrens – that tart, ruby bauble known as the cranberry?…Enter Nicholi Vorsa, a scientist who’s worked with New Jersey’s cranberry crop since 1985. Director of Rutgers University’s Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research in Chatsworth, at the heart of cranberry country, he’s working on a way to make cranberries less tart, potentially allowing for the addition of less sugar.

Read the entire article at NJ.com »

There’s growing evidence that global warming is driving crazy winters

It may be the timeliest — and most troubling — idea in climate science. Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stephen Vavrus, published a paper called "Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes." In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of us live — a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the U.S. has seen lately.

Read the entire article at WashingtonPost.com »

Cold snap caused by climate change-weakened jet stream, scientists suggest

Arctic conditions in eastern United States this week may have been the result of climate change-induced stressors on the jet stream that regulates weather over the northern hemisphere, according to meteorologists…Ironically, though, it was warmer-than-usual temperatures that likely sent the cold weather southwards. Climate change-induced ocean warming in the Pacific turned Typhoon Nuri into a "supertyphoon" that punched the jet stream off its course, bringing the North Pole’s weather down over the eastern U.S., according to experts…"If you think of the jet stream as a rope and you take that rope and whip it, that’s what (Nuri did), it gave it a big whip," said Jennifer Frances, research professor at Rutgers University and author of "Rapid Arctic warming and wacky weather: Are they linked?"

Read the entire article at america.aljazeera.com »