Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Arctic warming may lead to prolonged droughts: Study


Mains Paper 3: Environment| Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Global warming and its impact on precipitation


Impact of arctic warming

  • Arctic warming weakens the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles, resulting in less precipitation, weaker cyclones and mid-latitude westerly wind flow.
  • This result in prolonged droughts, a study has found.
  • When those opposite temperatures are wider, the result is more precipitation, stronger cyclones and more robust wind flow.
  • However, due to the Arctic ice melting and warming up the poles, those disparate temperatures are becoming closer.

What happens when Arctic is warmer?

  • Analysis shows that, when the Arctic is warmer, the jet stream and other wind patterns tend to be weaker.
  • The temperature difference in the Arctic and the tropics is less steep.
  • The change brings less precipitation to the mid-latitudes.

What is happening right now?

  • The northern high latitudes are warming at rates that are double the global average.
  • This will decrease the equator-to-pole temperature gradient to values comparable with the early to middle Holocene Period that began 12,000 to 11,500 years ago.
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