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article imageAmerican and European weather alters because of 'new jet stream'

By Kev Hedges     Feb 16, 2014 in Environment
New research by scientists in Chicago has determined that the bitterly cold and snowy weather in the US and Canada, and the intense storms and rain across the UK and Western Europe, is being driven by a meandering jet stream, that may be here for good.
The scientific results of the study shows that the North Atlantic jet stream has increasingly taken a longer, and wavier path. Normally the jet stream, a fast flowing, narrow air current, runs from the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico and heads north east towards Ireland or above Scotland. It normally brings wet, mild, and windy weather to any region in its path.
In times of the hurricane season in parts of southern US, many burnt out hurricanes lose power as they head across cooler regions of the North Atlantic ocean and finish off as storms in Ireland or western Scotland. But something dramatic has changed in the past year. The winter season in the the northern hemisphere has seen intense snow storms across the US and Canada, battering storms and heavy rains causing flooding across vast swathes of the UK and even northern Spain has been hit by a year's worth of rainfall falling in the winter months alone.
You will also notice a lack of hurricanes during the season in 2013, so what has happened and what changed to cause all of this record-breaking alteration in our weather patterns? The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago observed that the Arctic region has been warming at three times the speed of the rest of the planet.
However, it could well be that the powerful Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 in the Philippines altered the weather patterns in a streaming vortex or air current that heads all the way from that region to the Canadian Arctic region. This caused the deadly "polar vortex" and the descent of bitterly cold weather from that Arctic region south into Canada and the US and battered snow-like conditions as far south as Georgia and Texas.
The jet stream meanwhile, which is born off the west coast of equatorial Africa, never quite reached the Caribbean or the US mainland, and instead simply developed powerful storms hundreds of miles east off the coast of Florida and the Carolinas and headed straight for Britain, one after the other.
What gives the jet stream strength is the huge difference between the Arctic and the mid latitude zones. As the Arctic warms up, it weakens the jet stream and makes it meander and stay around much longer than it would normally. The UK have been battered by storm after storm since early December — that's some two and a half months ago — and about the same length of time the US has been suffering from an exceptionally cold, icy and blizzard like winter hell.
More about ukfloods, Snow, polar vortex, bitter cold, Storms
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