Posted: Mon 27th Sep 2021

Updated: Mon 27th Sep

Flintshire Scientist set to address Senedd on climate change and severe weather ahead of COP26

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A Flintshire Scientist will focus on research carried out at Bangor University over the past 15 years when he addresses the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) on Climate change and severe weather.

Professor Tom Rippeth from Northop will be presenting research on Tuesday at the Climate Science and Sustainability themed meeting ahead of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.

Research by Bangor University has revealed the growing influence of Atlantic water in melting Arctic Sea ice and the potential impacts of the declining sea ice on Wales’ weather.

This causal link is yet to be proven by science, but the lack of proof could be because the climate models used to predict future changes do not include a newly discovered warming mechanism.

The summer decline in sea ice is largely driven by atmospheric warming, with a re-freeze during the perpetual cold of the long dark winter.

However recent research to which Prof Rippeth of Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences contributed, has shown that year-round melting caused by warm currents flowing under the sea ice from the warmer Atlantic is now overtaking the effects of warm summer air temperatures in the eastern Arctic Ocean .

Summer decline in sea ice is largely driven by atmospheric warming, with a re-freeze during the perpetual cold of the long dark winter.

Professor Rippeth explains: “The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet and a conspicuous consequence is the decline in sea ice extent over the Arctic Ocean, which in-itself promotes further warming through the ice-albedo effect.

“On average an estimated additional area of sea ice approximately equivalent to four times the size of Wales is lost each summer according to the National Snow and Ice Data Centre. We have also experienced the 15 lowest summer sea ice extents on record in the past 15 years.

“Scientists think it no coincidence that increased occurrence of ‘weird’ or severe weather, including floods, wildfires, the “Beasts from the East” winter freezes and heatwaves in northern Europe have coincided with the sea ice decline over the past 15 years.”


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