A Changing Jet Stream

Climate Changes
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Climate change appears to be affecting the jet stream, altering the weather patterns over the U.S. so that regions can get “stuck” in extreme weather for weeks, a new study has found. The jet stream is the fast-moving, high-altitude air current that shuttles weather from west to east over North America and Europe. But the pronounced warming of the Arctic—where temperatures are rising faster than the rest of the globe—has
weakened the jet stream, causing it to take a slower and more meandering path across the Northern Hemisphere. Without that powerful engine to drive weather systems, weather lingers over a region for longer. That may explain this winter’s record drought in California, persistent cold and heavy snow in the Southeast, and torrential rains in Great Britain. “People are noticing that the weather in their area is not what it used to be,” Rutgers University atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis tells “We can expect it to happen more frequently.”