Extreme Snowfall and Cold Wave in Europe linked With Melting Arctic Sea Ice
In a very unusual incident, Europe witnessed an extreme cold wave in mid-April after many regions of the continent just witnessed their warmest weather in March. Several places also witnessed snowfall which is very unusual during the month of April. A study has linked the extreme snowfall and cold wave in Europe with melting sea ice in the Arctic.
This recent cold wave and snowfall caused chaos and researchers have revealed some surprising facts about it. The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, has revealed that extreme snowfall across Northern Europe has a direct link with the long-term decline in Arctic sea ice.
The researchers have discovered that a 50% reduction of ice cover in the Arctic since the late 1970s has provided a new source of atmospheric moisture. This has triggered extreme snowfall in Europe.
The researchers found that approximately 140 gigatonnes of water had evaporated from the Barents Sea during the Beast from the east. The sea was the source of 88% of snowfall that occurred over northern Europe during 2018. The researchers have concluded that the ice-free Barents Sea will be a major source of precipitation in Europe by 2080.
The lead author from the University of Oulu, Finland Dr. Hanna Bailey said,
What we’re finding is that sea-ice is effectively a lid on the ocean. And with its long-term reduction across the Arctic, we’re seeing increasing amounts of moisture enter the atmosphere during winter, which directly impacts our weather further south, causing extreme heavy snowfalls. It might seem counter-intuitive, but nature is complex and what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic.
The recent cold wave has affected French winemakers the most. Due to unusually cold conditions, crops have been destroyed in France due to frost. To overcome this obstacle, French winemakers had to light thousands of oil-burning heaters and install them in the fields to avoid damage to their crops. The French government said that it will be declaring it as an agricultural disaster.
As per, Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles (FNSEA), France’s largest agricultural union, the frosts on April 7 and 8 were particularly severe in the country. It had affected vignerons from Champagne to the Languedoc. The losses caused by the frost are estimated to be around €2 billion.
Meanwhile, European Union scientists have recently said that 2020 was the hottest year in Europe. Apparently, climate change is altering the weather patterns at overwhelming levels.