Here's a snapsnot from today's news. In London, the BBC reports, flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk. In Japan, reports Reuters, eleven people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo and areas around the Japanese capital before heading north to blanket the tsunami-hit Pacific coast. Many countries in the Middle East were hit by snow. The BBC reports that heavy snow in northern Iran has left around 480,000 homes without power and some towns and villages cut off.
What is causing these extreme weather events? The image below tells the story. While at times it has been cold at many places around the world, when averaged over the past 30 days, temperatures around the globe have actually been several degrees higher than they used to be. The Arctic has been hit hardest, with anomalies as high as 21°C over this 30 day period. This affects the Jet Stream and Polar Vortex, which in turn is making the weather ever more extreme.
The situation is further illustrated by the cci-reanalyzer.org forecasts below.
And while the sea ice didn't look too bad at the start of the year, growth has meanwhile stopped, as illustrated by the image below.
Added below are two videos by Paul Beckwith, further discussing the situation.
Anyway, the point made in the post remains, i.e. that as global warming continues, warming in the Arctic accelerates more rapidly than at lower latitudes, which weakens the polar vortex and jet stream in a self-reinforcing feedback that causes the Arctic to warm up even further compared with lower latitudes.
As said, the situation calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.