The strong storms which struck south-central Alaska repeatedly in September could be directly related to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic.

Jennifer Francis, a research professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said the severe weather is a sign that climate change is a reality.

"And they're happening not in the next generation or years from now, but they're happening right now before our eyes. But you won't see the changes if your eyes are closed and unfortunately we see ourselves these days in a society where a lot of eyes aren't open, at least not as open as they should be," she said.

Francis said the loss of sea ice impacts the jet stream by making it weaker. She says in turn, that affects weather patterns across much of the globe.