Arctic storms to decrease with global warming: Study

Brief but vicious Arctic storms known as polar lows are likely to become much less frequent as global warming intensifies, scientists in Britain determined today.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2010, 21:25 PM IST

Paris: Brief but vicious Arctic storms
known as polar lows are likely to become much less frequent as
global warming intensifies, scientists in Britain determined
today.

Polar lows brew in ice-free high latitudes in the
North Atlantic in winter and can swiftly become a hazard for
shipping and oil rigs.

The number of these storms averaged 36 per season in
the 20th century, climatologists at the University of Reading
said.

By 2100, this tally would fall to between 17 and 23
per season, depending on concentrations of heat-trapping
greenhouse gases in the air.

"There would be roughly only half as many in future,"
Matthias Zahn, of the university`s Environmental Systems
Science Centre, told a news agency.

The simulation is based on three scenarios for
greenhouse-gas emissions used by the UN`s Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The reason for the fall lies in a change in the
difference in temperature between the ocean`s surface and the
mid-atmosphere.

This differential is what causes a polar low to
develop. Changing the difference hampers the storm`s formation
and intensification, according to the paper, released by
Nature, the British science journal.

Zahn said further work was underway to simulate polar
lows in the northern Pacific.

PTI