Climate change could lead to colder winters in northern regions, according to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research on Tuesday.
Vladimir Petoukhov, lead author of the study, said a shrinking of sea ice in the eastern Arctic causes some regional warming of lower air levels and may lead to anomalies in atmospheric airstreams, triggering an overall cooling of the northern continents.
"These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia," he said. "Recent severe winters like last year's or the one of 2005/06 do not conflict with the global warming picture but rather supplement it."
Petoukhov, whose study is entitled "A link between reduced Barents-Kara sea ice and cold winter extremes over northern continents", said in a statement a warming of the air over the Barents-Kara Sea appeared to bring cold winter winds to Europe.
"This is not what one would expect," Petoukhov said. "Whoever thinks that the shrinking of some far away sea ice won't bother him could be wrong."
The U.N. panel of climate scientists say a creeping rise in global temperatures will bring ever more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels.
Almost 200 nations meet in Mexico from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10 to try to agree a "green fund" to help poor countries deal with climate change and other steps towards an elusive treaty to tackle global warming.
First Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 23:15