Arctic melting could worsen future California droughts

This article discusses the impact a warming climate in the Arctic will impact California’s water supply.

If the North Pole loses its summertime ice, precipitation in the state could drop by up to 15 percent.

Ivana Cvijanovic is with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She says when sea ice melts, the Arctic Ocean warms, causing atmospheric changes that affect how heat circulates in the tropics.

That helps create atmospheric high pressure over the North Pacific, which pushes winter storms away from California. So, a state that already struggles with drought could become even drier.

She says sea ice is one of many factors that will shape weather patterns as the climate warms. More research is needed to understand how the factors will interact. But it’s clear that melting ice will have an impact far beyond the poles.

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