The rapid changes in the arctic have consequences well beyond Barrow, altering ocean currents, weather patterns, and temperatures across the planet.
Cold Arctic temperatures are typically distributed in a way that affects the polar jet stream.
Typical, compact configuration
NOV. 14, 2013
The jet stream abuts the irregular pattern formed by the warming Arctic region and radical weather ridges and troughs developed.
Wavy polar vortex
JAN. 5, 2015
Scientists have attributed Boston's historic cold spell and snowfall last winter to shifts in the polar jet stream.
The normal polar jet stream has typically kept cold arctic air north of the mainland US in the winter.
The changed jet stream though has pushed cold weather down into the Eastern US, and pulled warm weather up through the western US and Alaska.
Jet stream patterns

SOURCE: Stanford Report," September 30, 2014; Skeptical Science, "A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream"

James Abundis / Globe Staff