We’ve got approximately half as much sea ice in the Arctic in the fall now as we did say, 30 years or so ago — there’s been this dramatic decrease. There is emerging research — my colleagues and I published a paper last February on this — suggesting that as that sea ice melts it’s changing the jet stream, a current that steers weather in the mid-latitudes, places like New York. As sea ice melts, our research suggests that the jet stream is going to tend to get weaker. As the jet stream gets weaker, it’s easier for storms to stagnate or in some cases, maybe even move to the west, which is what this storm did.
Most hurricanes, as they get as far north as a place like New York, especially late in the season — September, October — [the] standard pattern is for that strong jet stream to push those storms to the east. What we saw with this storm was that it moved to the west. It’s a very unusual track and I would say it’s a big research question whether we might see in general more stormy weather and storms taking a track like that as sea ice melts."