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Monday 19 March 2018

Our washed-out summers may be down to melting Arctic

John von Radowitz

Melting Arctic sea ice may be to blame for the recent spate of soggy summers in Ireland, say experts.

Loss of ice due to climate change is affecting strong air currents high in the atmosphere, research suggests.

As a result, weather systems are being shifted, bringing more summer rain to the British Isles and other parts of north-west Europe.

Scientists at the University of Exeter used a computer model to simulate the effects of retreating Arctic sea ice on Europe.

The model produced a pattern of rainfall consistent with an extraordinary run of washed-out summers experienced here between 2007 and 2012.

Lead researcher Dr James Screen said: "The results of the computer model suggest that melting Arctic sea ice causes a change in the position of the jet stream and this could help to explain the recent wet summers we have seen."

"The study suggests that loss of sea ice not only has an effect on the environment and wildlife of the Arctic region but has far-reaching consequences for people living in Europe and beyond."

Jet streams are powerful, 200mph air currents high in the atmosphere that steer weather systems.

Normally in summer, the polar jet stream flowing between Scotland and Iceland keeps bad weather to the north.

When the jet stream shifts south, it brings unseasonable wet weather with it.

Irish Independent

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