Feature

The Siberian snow connection

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Science  20 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6224, pp. 821
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6224.821

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Summary

Climate scientist Judah Cohen envisions a series of causal links between how much snow falls over Siberia each October and weather patterns in the midlatitudes. Siberian snow cover, he says, has been increasing over the past 2 decades. His "six-step" cycle, which progresses from snow cover in Siberia to the breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex and a more meandering jet stream, also has room for melting sea ice, he says—and he notes that he has successfully used this series of links to predict changes in the polar vortex, including the powerful winter storms of early 2015 in the northeastern United States. But not everyone concurs that snow cover is the silver bullet—or with Cohen's observation that snow cover over Siberia has been on the rise.