Climate change is wrecking havoc with two of our planet’s icons: Ecuador’s glacier-studded Mount Chimborazo -the highest spot on our planet- and Peru’s Quelccaya, which until recently was the world’s largest tropical ice cap.
According to a team of atmospheric researchers, sea-ice retreat and the accompanying increased activity of atmospheric waves are creating a significant, ozone-amplified warming of the polar stratosphere. Since the low polar temperatures form the jet stream’s motor, the rising temperatures in the stratosphere are causing it to falter. In turn, this weakening of the jet stream is now spreading downward from the stratosphere, producing weather extremes.
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“The Arctic is currently warming two to three times faster than the rest of the globe, so naturally, glaciers and ice caps are going to react faster,” said Simon Pendleton, a doctoral researcher in University of Colorado Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).
“If you want to see where global warming is happening, look in our oceans,” said Zeke Hausfather, at the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper. “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change, and we have robust evidence that it is warming more rapidly than we thought.”