Wavier jet stream may be causing shift in weather pattern


Sick of the snow? You can blame the jet stream, according to a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science  in Chicago.

Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado, discussed whether changes in the polar north could affect the weather in mid-latitudes, what some call “Santa’s revenge.”

The jet stream has been taking a less predictable and more meandering path, said Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University.

The jet stream, the BBC’s Pallab Ghosh explains, is caused in part by the difference in temperature between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes.

As the difference increases, the jet stream speeds up, “and like a river flowing down a steep hill, it ploughs through any obstacles, such as areas of high pressure that might be in its way,” Ghosh says. When the difference isn’t that big, the jet stream weakens and “will meander every time it comes across an obstacle.”

“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,” Francis said.

h/t BBC