The unusually cold winter this year in China may be a result of the record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer, Chen Yu, senior engineer of the National Climate Center, told China Daily on Friday.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in the United States, Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low on Sept 16, to an average total area of 3.61 million square kilometers.
"Observation and data analysis showed that Arctic sea ice loss may cause cold and snowy winters in parts of Asia," Chen said.
She explained that when sea ice melts in the Arctic, the water temperature increases. When that happens, the air becomes moister and is more likely to form cold fronts.
According to the China Meteorological Administration, in December most of China suffered colder weather than usual. On Dec 24, frequent cold fronts led to temperatures in 21 monitoring stations hitting record lows.
And the cold weather is going to return. A new round of cold fronts will hit most parts of the country on New Year's Eve, bringing mild to medium snowfalls to Northeast China.
Kang Zhiming, weather forecaster of the National Meteorological Center, said weather models showed the temperature will not rise until late January.
"The weather authorities will keep a close eye on any changes in the weather, especially before Spring Festival, in order to give timely information to transport and related departments, particularly in the event of extreme weather," Kang said.