Experts Predict Wet Winter, but Wary of Melting Ice
. Forecasters are predicting a wetter and colder winter than normal due to an oncoming El Niño period in the Pacific Ocean, but record low ice cover this summer in the Arctic Ocean is causing a large degree of uncertainty. Although many climate scientists argue there is a link between shrinking Arctic ice and unusual weather patterns, they cannot say where or exactly how it will have the greatest effect. According to research by Rutgers climate scientist and CECI affiliate Jennifer Francis
the shrinking Arctic sea ice means weather patterns will move more slowly as a result of a less powerful jet stream. The jet stream draws its strength from the temperature difference between the North Pole and the equator, but with less ice cover the Arctic Ocean absorbs more energy from the sun and its temperature rises, thus decreasing the difference.