Warming Arctic may mean a more meandering jet stream

By on February 24, 2014

Jet stream (Credit: NASA)

Warming temperatures in the Arctic may be to blame for a shift in the jet stream across the northern latitudes, NPR reported.

As the temperature difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes diminishes, the jet stream grows weaker and tends to meander, said Jennifer Francis, a professor at Rutgers University’s Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. This leads to persistent, lingering weather patterns.

The weakening of the jet stream might account for the polar vortex affecting the U.S. and Britain, as well as the drought that has stricken California.

Mark Serreze, the director of the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, suggested that the warming Arctic might be tied to the loss of sea ice that normally serves as a barrier between the ocean and the colder air above.

Image: Jet stream (Credit: NASA)

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