Record-breaking temperatures in the first half of 2016 have primed the Arctic for another summer of low sea ice cover, a NASA scientist says. Natasha Howitt reports.
It's been the warmest year on record, a NASA scientist has said.... and ice in the Arctic Sea is expected to bear the brunt of it. The Arctic is one of the most visible signs of a changing planet - warming twice as fast as anywhere else in the world. Over the past three decades, the amount of sea ice there has dramatically declined. This year, Walt Meier says, we're on track to see the least of it. Without ice, the Arctic loses its cooling mechanism. The implications are both widespread and devastating... (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. WALT MEIER, NASA SCIENTIST, SAYING: "And basically it's like we're opening up the refrigerator door, so the Arctic's cooling mechanism is becoming less and less efficient as we lose the sea ice... And the Arctic is connected to the rest of the climate system. The Arctic is not like Las Vegas. What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. And so as we are warming the Arctic, we're changing the balance between the cold Arctic and the lower latitudes - that potentially changes weather patterns. And we're already seeing evidence of that in terms of how the jet stream is changing, it's becoming less of a west to east flow and more of a loopy flow, kind of more north to south which leads to more extreme events, things like droughts things like torrential rains and flooding." The issue of global warming has been a key topic in the U.S. presidential campaign. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton sees it as an immediate concern, but Republican rival Donald Trump dismisses it as only minor.