Changes in Jet Stream to Cause Longer, Harsher Winter

Recent changes in the jet stream are causing longer, more harsh winters in North America and Europe. The changes in fast-moving, narrow air current are likely to be a result of increased warming of the Arctic, said Jennifer Francis, a professor at Rutgers University's Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

Francis said temperatures have risen as a much as three times faster in the Arctic as compared to the rest of the planet. The findings of the study have been presented during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

It has been concluded by the study authors that changes have been occurring in weather patterns and it must have been noticed by the local people that the weather in their areas has not been the same as it was used to be.

Francis blamed warming on the Arctic for causing changes in the jet stream. Francis supported this statement by giving the phenomenon: temperatures in the Arctic greatly influence the strength of the jet stream, as it is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the poles and the tropics. "As the Arctic is experiencing warming at faster rates than the tropics, that difference is getting smaller, so the jet stream is weakening along with it", he added.

Now, weather events are highly likely to get stuck over a location causing incessant rains, snow fall, and long period of the sun. Also, cold weather would head towards further south and warm weather further north. For example, Alaska and Scandinavia are engulfed by warm weather this winter.

Francis said that the Arctic has experienced warming rapidly for the past 15 years only. She added that more data will be provided by scientists to figure out effects of climate change in future.