Monsoon & Arctic ice melt have direct ties

If we thought the Arctic sea ice melt would only lead to sea surges and increased sea-level change affecting our coasts, it is time to think again. “Climate change in Arctic circle is worrisome even for our region as it impacts Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Some studies indicate that the extreme heat and rainfall events are also leading to ice melting in that region,” M Ravichandran, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said on Thursday.

In recent years, whenever there has been an increased rainfall over northwestern India and Pakistan, the heat released during such events has been transported through a pathway to the Canadian Arctic region. “A huge amount of heat is released in the atmosphere due to these extreme (rainfall) events. This heat reaches the Canadian Arctic, where it causes rapid sea ice melting,” he said while delivering a plenary talk on ‘Teleconnection between the Arctic and Indian monsoon extreme rainfall’.

Yet another cause of concern has been the influence of Greenland Sea ice on the Indian summer monsoon rainfall. “The autumn sea ice area in the Greenland Sea is related to the central Pacific sea surface temperature. Reduction in Greenland Sea ice area warms the central Pacific Ocean which, in turn, causes reduced rainfall during our monsoon season,” Ravichandran said.

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