Jet Streams


In the last few weeks we have witnessed unprecedented weather conditions such Polar Vortex’s and flooding in the UK. One theory is the changing flow patterns of the jet streams.

I hope this article can also elaborate in understanding how global warming is linked to colder temperatures, more so for us in the northern hemisphere. Jet streams are fast flowing air currents in the atmosphere and are dictated by high pressure (warm air) and low pressure (cold air) systems. You can see the picture above the Arctic Circle is in a similar position to that of the polar jet stream.

What happens if the Polar Regions warmed up? There can be no dispute that they are, there is proof of the ice thinning and receding further year after year in the Summer. We can now sail cargo ships through the Arctic and exploration for oil in the region is now a reality. With the changing temperatures this is likely to cause the jet streams to fluctuate north and south more than usual. To understand the effects, we have to think back to school science lessons for the fundamentals on cold and warm fronts using coloured hot and cold water. When the two become connected, the cold front will surge below forcing the hot water to rise above it.

Therefore it is not a far stretch that with the change in temperatures, the jet stream could flow further south than usual and bring the polar weather with it. We may never know if climate change was a factor in the US, and it is soon to hit the UK, but one thing is for sure, we are currently doing too little, too late to address climate change.

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