The Jet Stream & Arctic Warming

by Lee Norton
(St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada)

January 14, 2013

We have just enjoyed a warm spring-like weekend here in Niagara Falls while the Prairies and Newfoundland were having extreme blizzards and it was snowing in California.

If this is global warming, why didn’t the whole country enjoy our 16 degrees weather?

The answer lies with the jet stream.

The Jet Stream's Peaks and Troughs

The jet steam wavers north and south as it makes its way across our continent.

Niagara was south of the jet stream peak, while in the west and in the east they were north of the jet stream trough.

Temperature Fluctuations

If you’re north of the jet stream, you get cold arctic air, while if you’re south of the jet stream, you get warm tropical like air.

If you’re on the jet stream you’ll likely get snow or rain depending on the season.

Jet Stream Increases in Amplitude

Due to the Arctic warming, the jet stream has increased its amplitude. In other words, the troughs go further south while the peaks go further north.

This increases the chance of extreme weather patterns and also slows the jet stream down. The jet stream may become stalled, giving you a longer time in whatever weather you are getting.

In summary, global warming can give you increased chances of extreme snowstorms, wet periods, droughts, and both heat and cold temperature records.

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