Letter: The harsh winter we have experienced is not proof global warming is not happening but the opposite.
It also shows why the phrase "climate change" is a better term than "global warming".
Vladimir Petoukhov, a climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, has recently completed a study on the effect of climate change on winter, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
The Arctic has been heating up at two to three times the global average. This rise in Arctic temperature has reduced the region's floating ice layer by more than 20 per cent.
When the reflective ice and snow layer is stripped away, it leaves a dark blue sea which absorbs the sun's rays and aids the heating process. As the ocean gets warmer it is in marked contrast with the polar air above. The heat from the ocean flows up into the polar air, creating a high pressure system. This forces the polar air to move and then pushes frigid air down into Europe and across the globe.
Before anyone writes to tell me this is just a hurried and belated excuse to blame global warming for severe winter weather, this paper was submitted in November 2009.