The report highlights the scale of the threat posed by climate change, showing how rapid Arctic warming could be causing more summer downpours and heat waves, including recent spate of exceptional extreme heat events in North America, Europe, and Asia
It is not the first study to link Arctic warming with weather patterns in other regions, but is the first to find such correlations between Arctic ice melt and summer weather events.
Previous studies have focused on the links with fall and winter weather patterns.
Since the 1980s, Arctic summer sea ice extent has dropped at a rate of 8% per decade. In September 2012 – the month the sea ice cover reaches its annual minimum – sea ice reached record low levels.
Writing in the journal nature Climate Change, experts in China and the United States said they could not conclusively say the Arctic thaw caused more extreme weather, or vice versa.
But they said they had found evidence of a relationship between the two. Rising temperatures over thawing snow on land and sea ice in the Arctic were changing atmospheric pressure and winds, the report said.
The changes slowed the eastward movement of vast meandering weather systems and meant more time for extreme weather to develop – such as a heat wave in Russia in 2010, droughts in the United States and China in 2011 and 2012, or heavy summer rains that caused floods in Britain in 2012, the paper added.
“The study contributes to a growing body of evidence that … the melting Arctic has wide-ranging implications for people living in the middle latitudes,” lead author Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences told Reuters.