Arctic warming, increasing snow cover and widespread boreal winter cooling

Type: Journal Article

Venue: Environmental Research Letters


Judah L. Cohen, Jason C. Furtado, Mathew A. Barlow, Vladimir A. Alexeev and Jessica E. Cherry (2012) Arctic warming, increasing snow cover and widespread boreal winter cooling. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 014007.

Judah L Cohen et al., 2012 Environ. Res. Lett., 7, 014007. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/014007

Resource Link:

Voted Best Article of 2012 by ERL Editorial Board


The most up to date consensus from global climate models predicts warming in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) high- to mid-latitudes during boreal winter. However, recent trends in observed NH winter surface temperatures diverge from these projections. For the last two decades, large-scale cooling trends exist instead across large stretches of eastern North America and northern Eurasia. We argue that this unforeseen trend is likely not due to internal variability alone. Instead, evidence suggests that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover, which dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling. Understanding this counterintuitive response to radiative warming of the climate system has the potential to improve climate predictions at seasonal and longer timescales.

IOP Publishing's press release about this article:

Cold winters caused by warmer summers, research suggests