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Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change
Newsmakers

September 2014

Yoon Quoted Nationwide on Melting Sea Ice

Jin-Ho Yoon, climate physics scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was quoted in more than 250 outlets nationwide regarding a recent publication on how shrinking sea ice contributes to a weakening polar vortex, which can be potentially linked to cold weather in the United States or other parts of the world. The article, "Study Links Polar Vortex Chills to Melting Sea Ice," ran in outlets ranging from the local Herald to The Associated Press. Yoon also is co-author of the publication, "Weakening of the Stratospheric Polar Vortex by Arctic Sea-ice Loss," appearing in September's issue of Nature Communications. In the article, Yoon and his co-authors describe the polar vortex, which usually stays in the Arctic, wandering south from time to time, but recently has moved more southward, as being disturbed by the sea ice loss over the Kara-Barents Sea region. When there is less ice, more energy can move from the relatively warm ocean surface to the atmosphere and disturb the polar vortex. Although this mechanism is newly identified, there are other processes that potentially compete or work simultaneously to cause the polar vortex to weaken, creating cold air outbreaks.


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