Rising temperatures in earth’s arctic region may have catastrophic repercussions in California, scientists believe, as research predicts severe droughts in the coming years.
A recent study by Californian scientists showed that a combination of changes to the atmospheric circulation and cloud formations could potentially melt the ice from the Arctic.
Computer analyses report a 10 to 15 percent average decrease in sunny California.
“This has the potential to make a drought very similar to the one we had in 2012 to 2016,” said Ivana Cvijanovic, an atmospheric scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The recent five-year drought cost California’s farmers billions of dollars in lost production, slashed seasonal agriculture jobs by the thousands, and spiked electricity bills for residents as hydroelectric systems failed.
“Not every year will be drier. We’ll still have the occasional very wet year,” said Cvijanovic. “But, looking year by year, the majority of years will be drier.”
Scientific data shows Arctic temperatures are rising at double the rate compared to those around the world, a statistic many scientists attribute to the ever-rising amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Ice masses are extremely important to the earth’s ecosystem, Cvijanovic explained. The snow-covered wasteland acts as a reflector to the sun’s powerful rays. Without the planet’s heat shields, the global temperatures will gradually rise.
“Studies like this one imply that it’s not only a problem (for communities in Alaska) and that Arctic Sea ice loss that we expect in the next couple of decades could have massive effects,” she said.
The scientist added that although the melting ice is disconcerting, it is not the only factor behind a reduction in rainfall. Other environmental disasters such as volcanic eruptions and increased levels of carbon dioxide would also contribute severe dry spells and will undoubtedly affect not only Californians, but also millions of people around the world.