The Jet Stream and Climate Change

Monday, July 15, 2013

Have you ever wondered how the jet stream is affected by climate change but were perhaps daunted by the science behind it all?

In a new article on the Vancouver Observer, environmentalist Amy Huva explains a new study released out of Rutgers University that shows how the changing climate has slowed down the normal movement of the jet stream, causing it to get 'stuck'. Huva explains: "With the Arctic ‘death spiral’ of unprecedented melting making the temperature difference between the cold air and the warm air smaller, this is slowing the jet stream down causing it to get stuck. Arctic amplification – where the Arctic is warming faster than most of the Northern Hemisphere is also causing the jet stream to meander, with higher ups and lower downs. So as the snow melts in Arctic and sub-Arctic areas earlier and earlier each spring, the jet stream keeps moving in new ways, causing more weather weirdness." The implications of this, as Huva explains, are unusual weather patterns, including heat waves and flooding. The bad news is that this Arctic melting is accelerating, meaning that weather around the world will continue to be unpredictable and unusual.