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23rd Jamadi-us-Saani 1435 | Thursday, Apr 24, 2014
Science

Is Alaska heading towards ice age?

Saturday, 5 January 2013
Comments(0)
London, January 05:

Bucking the overall global warming trend, Alaska may actually be heading for an ice age with scientists reporting a steady temperature decline in the snow covered US state.

New study by Alaska Climate Research Center shows that temperatures in Alaska are actually getting colder since the beginning of the 21st century - contrary to global warming concerns.

In the Last Frontier, where temperatures can get as cold as 50 degrees below zero, residents of the state have experienced the increasing chill and scientists now confirm that the Northwest state is indeed seeing a temperature drop.

A study by the University of Alaska Fairbanks shows the state has cooled by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 2000.

Scientists based their research on temperature readings from weather stations operated by the National Weather Service.

Based on the readings, 19 of the 20 stations have measured a consistently cooler climate over time, the report said.

The region of the state most impacted by chillier temperatures is Western Alaska, notably King Salmon on the Alaska Peninsula. The region saw temperatures drop most sharply by 4.5 degrees for the decade.

Researchers credit an ocean phenomenon, called the Decadal Oscillation, with bringing colder surface water temperatures and thus beginning the overall cooling effect.

This oscillation has brought a weakening of the Aleutian Low, the breeding ground for storms that end up regulating weather systems in the rest of the 48 states. With a less active Aleutian Low, cold winter storms have been sticking around Alaska longer and keeping the temperatures chilly.

This climate shift could shed new light on the long feared impact of dangerous greenhouse gases causing a rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and the thawing of arctic glaciers and sea ice. Before the 2000s, the warming trend in Alaska has actually been twice the overall warming rate.

The sudden temperature increase began in 1977 and has gone up ever since 1998. However, now the trend has been reversed, with the mean temperature dropping.

PTI

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