May 17, 2017 07:51 PM EDT
Scientists are soon expected to improve and enhance polar region study in order to improve global weather predictions. There is an attempt to also reduce the risks linked to speedy climate change, said the UN Monday.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has been trying to enhance forecasting in both the polar regions, which have been affected by climate change. Warming in these regions has been at double the rate of the rest of the world, while they are confronted by fast-retreating glaciers and sea ice, according to Phys.org.
However, their extreme climate makes these polar regions poorly observed by meteorologists, affecting the quality of weather forecasts in these as well as other regions. WMO chief Petteri Taalas said that "because of teleconnections, the poles influence weather and climate conditions in lower latitudes where hundreds of millions of people live."
He said that when the Arctic air masses and declining sea ice warm up, they tend to impact ocean circulation as well as the jet stream. They get linked to extreme phenomena such as "cold spells, heat waves and droughts" in the northern regions of the earth, he said. The WMO affirmed that from mid-2017 to mid-2019, one large global and interdisciplinary network of experts and forecasting centers will conduct intensive exploration and modelling in the polar regions.
"The rate and implications of polar environmental change is pushing our scientific knowledge to the limits," said Thomas Jung, head of the Polar Prediction Project steering committee for the polar regions. He pointed out that "Arctic sea-ice maximum extent after the winter re-freezing period in March was the lowest on record because of a series of 'heat waves'."
Still, after the Southern Hemisphere summer melt, the minimum level of sea ice in the southern polar regions also happened to be the lowest, he said. If the predictions and forecasts improve, there would be a logical conclusion to fewer risks and better safety management in the polar regions.
Due to major changes in the weather, there are increased human activities such as shipping and fisheries, as well as the extraction of natural resources such as oil and gas in the polar regions. Due to the expected opening of the sea in the Arctic, scientists expect more challenging waves as well as ice conditions for shipping.