Shifting jet stream and temperature

Massive channel of winds in upper atmosphere contributes to dramatic variation of temperature.

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    Winds shifting and temperature change is not uncommon in many parts of the world [File: EPA]

    In the small little city of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, an extremely rare event happened over the last several weeks.  On February 10, they hit a low temperature of -33C.  Cold indeed, you may say, but what makes this a truly exceptional event is that just seven days later Bartlesville’s temperature shot up to a high of 28C.

    That is a change of 61 degrees celsius.

    Temperature variations for cities around the world are not uncommon.  We can see this happen for several reasons such as winds shifting from an onshore flow to an off shore flow.  Or having winds blowing down off a mountain range can considerably warm up a location such as Los Angeles, Denver and even Melbourne.

    In this particular case though, it was all due to a shifting of the jet stream; that massive channel of winds in the upper atmosphere that separates cold air to its north and warmer air to its south.

    On February 10, the jet stream was diving south over the central US pulling that extremely cold Arctic air mass down along with it. 

    In just a few days the jet stream’s orientation changed drastically enough that much warmer air was being pulled into the region.

    It is wishful thinking to hope that these temperatures will stay into the mid twenties for much longer.  But if you do have travel plans anywhere to the southeast and south central part of the US you will be in for a treat.  Forecast models are keeping those temperatures above average for at least the next 3-4 days.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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