Washington — Melting Arctic sea ice could render sun-soaked California vulnerable to a recurrence of the severe drought suffered in recent years as it is likely to cause high pressure systems that push away rain-bearing storms, a study released on Tuesday said. As temperatures rise, the Arctic Ocean is expected to become ice-free within two or three decades, resulting in more of the sun’s heat being stored in the Arctic Ocean, leading to atmospheric circulation changes and cloud formations in the tropical Pacific that move north. That will lead to the building of high pressure system known as an atmospheric ridge in the northern Pacific off California’s coast, steering storms north into Alaska and Canada, the study said. "This has the potential to make a drought very similar to the one we had in 2012 to 2016," said Ivana Cvijanovic, an atmospheric scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Cvijanovic led the study with contributions from colleagu...

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