The melting Arctic Sea ice could be playing a critical role behind freezing winters in Britain and other countries in the northern hemisphere, according to a study.

A BBC report says the researchers, from the US-based Georgia Institute of Technology and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics in Beijing, reached their conclusion after studying computer models.

The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"For the past four winters, for much of the northern US, eastern Asia and Europe, we had this persistent above-normal snow cover," BBC News quoted Dr Liu as saying.

"We don't see a predictive relationship with any of the other factors that have been proposed, such as El Nino; but for sea ice, we do see a predictive relationship," he added.

The lowest Arctic Sea ice level was recorded in 2007. The northern hemisphere has recorded the second and third largest snow covers in the last two winters, AFP reports.

The researchers indicated atmospheric circulation changes are linked to reduction in sea ice and this leads to increased snowfall on the northern continent. In addition, increased water vapor content in the arctic region, for the same reason as above, has also caused heavy snowfall in Europe and US during winters.