Arctic Sea Ice Melt to Exacerbate California Droughts: Study

WASHINGTON – Melting Arctic sea ice could render sun-soaked California susceptible to a recurrence of the extreme drought suffered recently as it will probably cause high pressure systems that drive away rain-bearing storms, a report released on Tuesday said.

As temperatures climb, the Arctic Ocean is likely to become ice-free of charge within two or three decades, resulting in even more of the sun’s heating being placed in the Arctic Ocean, resulting in atmospheric circulation improvements and cloud formations in the tropical Pacific that maneuver north.

That will lead to the building of high pressure system known as an atmospheric ridge in the northern Pacific off California’s coastline, steering storms north into Alaska and Canada, the analysis said.

“It has the potential to make a drought very similar to the one we had in 2012 to 2016,” said Ivana Cvijanovic, an atmospheric scientist at the Division of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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Cvijanovic led the analysis with contributions from colleagues at the lab and at University of California, Berkeley.

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