STATES CHRONICLE – Climate change triggers higher temperatures, leading to extreme weather which amplifies the dramatic floods and droughts by interrupting jet streams. Jet streams represent air currents at high altitudes, moving from west to east across the northern hemisphere. Researchers argue that in the last 15 years, climate change unleashed triggering heat waves across the US and Western Europe, fatal flooding in Pakistan and severe drought in California.
Jet streams bring humid air from tropical areas fueling heavy snowfall or floods
All these were made even worse because of human-made climate change which modified massive air streams. Scientists published their new study in the Scientific Reports magazine. Michael Mann, a professor at Penn State University in the US and the lead author of the study, claimed that their work reveals that climate change is not just causing the development of extreme weather through standard methods.
These traditional mechanisms include increasing temperatures which eventually lead to numerous heat waves and additional moisture, which leads to severe flooding and snowfall. Mann stated that besides these terrible effects, global warming is also altering the pattern of the jet stream, fueling more and more weather anomalies. For scientists, it is now clear that humans’ activity left their fingerprint on climate change.
Human-made global warming triggers extreme weather
Specialists explain that jet streams are powerful air currents which spread over the northern part of the world at about 5 to 7 miles above our planet’s surface. They are controlled by the contrast between tropical weather and frigid polar air, traveling hundreds of kilometers at high speeds which reach 200 miles/hour. Due to these jet streams, a flight from Los Angeles to New York takes an hour less compared to the other way around.
The path of the massive air flows develops weather patterns, including high and low-pressure systems which trigger hot periods or unseasonable cold. Moreover, this weather pattern can become even worse if jet streams stall or slow. This could lead to long periods of precipitation or extreme heat. Dim Coumou, the co-author of the study and a professor at the Institute for Environment Studies and VU University Amsterdam, stated that if insignificant changes occur to these jet streams, then they can trigger a severe effect on extreme weather.
Specialists indicate that these powerful air currents could be slowed down or stalled by smaller differences in temperature between the tropical and Arctic air which surrounds them on each side. This can occur naturally, but it is more likely now to happen due to climate change since it set in.
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