Santa's Revenge: The Impacts of Arctic Warming on the Mid-Latitudes

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Regency A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Increasingly disruptive weather at northern hemisphere mid-latitudes is causing dramatic property and agricultural damage, human health issues and suffering, and associated high costs. These weather events have included hurricanes, tornados, extreme temperatures, persistent regional droughts, and the warmest year yet recorded in the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. Concurrently with these disruptive weather events, the Arctic region continues to warm and lose ice and snow cover. Among other effects, this loss increases high latitude absorption of incoming solar radiation, which in turn increases temperatures, contributes to further ice and snow melting, and increases release of carbon dioxide and methane from formerly frozen permafrost. This transition from a white to a blue Arctic is reflected in high latitude warming two to three times greater than the global average. Although geographically remote, these high-latitude changes are causally linked to mid-latitude weather. Likely impacts include, for example, threats to freshwater availability in the U.S., Russia, and elsewhere, which in turn impacts industry and agriculture, one effect being grain price increases that contribute to instabilities in the Middle East. This symposium examines these complex phenomena and their effects on freshwater resources, food availability, and national security.
Michael MacCracken, Climate Institute
Ester Sztein, U.S. National Academies
Michael MacCracken, Climate Institute
Hajo Eicken, University of Alaska
Jerry Hatfield, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agriculture Impacts and Impacts on International Food Supplies and Prices
David Titley, George Washington University
Impact of a Warming Arctic on National Security
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