Monday February 6, 2023

CBS Bay Area

The Arctic is seeing a rapid decline in sea ice even during the cold winter months when it should be recovering from the summer melt. Scientists say that one often-overlooked factor is playing a bigger role than previously thought: Atmospheric rivers.

These long, narrow bands of moisture in the atmosphere transport warm air and water vapor from the tropics. They can extend for thousands of miles and dump rain and snow when they make landfall.

In January, atmospheric rivers brought a parade of deadly storms that unleashed heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in California.

Now they are increasingly reaching the Arctic, according to a study by a team led by Penn State University scientists and published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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