While it is true that the Earth is warming and apparently warming at an accelerated pace, we have an unclear basis for making predictions about how the warming will expand and at what rate. Some areas well get warmer while others may even get colder. A warming Arctic sufficient to allow increasing areas of open water devoid of sea ice in summer months. Over time the climate in many areas of the northern hemisphere will change, but it will likely be up and down by area–sometimes moderately predictable in advance, but often only partly explained after the fact.
Early on it seems the highest average temperature increases will come in the northern areas adjacent to the Arctic Ocean perhaps initially in the areas closest to where the seas are open over the summer months. This is due in large part to increased heat absorption in open seas in summer from solar radiation compared with it’s reflection back into space when the ice is present. Thus, as the summer ice continues to disappear the more heat absorption there will be.
As heat from solar radiation is increases, there will be mechanisms to distribute the heat around the Earth. These may largely alter high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere, some of which we understand and some of which we are still guessing at. Also, some have suggested that there may be secondary and cyclic changes in upper atmospheric winds which are already known to circle the Arctic and to sometimes did down to markedly alter winter weather in more moderate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, mostly affecting weather in America and Europe.The most unknown of the effects may be in accelerated release of greenhouse gases from the slowly melting permafrost massively distributed over lands adjacent to the Arctic, primarily in northern Canada and Russia.
In longer term we may see a new moderate climate in more northern regions of America and Canada on the one hand and also in Europe and Southern Russia including some of the countries in the former USSR. These may become more suited for agriculture provided there is neither too little nor much water.
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Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health. He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com. Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.
He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training. He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries. In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.