BBC News – Wavier jet stream ‘may drive weather shift’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26023166
15 February 2014 Last updated at 14:32 ET
By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News, Chicago

The ribbon of strong winds has become wavier over the past two decades or so
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New research suggests that the main system that helps determine the weather over Northern Europe and North America may be changing.

The study shows that the so-called jet stream has increasingly taken a longer, meandering path.

This has resulted in weather remaining the same for more prolonged periods.

The work was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.

The observation could be as a result of the recent warming of the Arctic. Temperatures there have been rising two to three times faster than the rest of the globe.

According to Prof Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University in New Jersey: “This does seem to suggest that weather patterns are changing and people are noticing that the weather in their area is not what it used to be.”

“We can expect more of the same and we can expect it to happen more frequently” Prof Jennifer Francis Rutgers University

The meandering jet stream has accounted for the recent stormy weather over the UK and the bitter winter weather in the US Mid-West remaining longer than it otherwise would have.

“We can expect more of the same and we can expect it to happen more frequently,” says Prof Francis

The jet stream, as its name suggests, is a high-speed air current in the atmosphere that brings with it the weather.

It is fuelled partly by the temperature differential between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes.

….(read more).

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