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Jet Stream Messed Up, Accelerating Climate Change

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Jet stream image from NASA
Jet stream image from NASA

The effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions is worse than we thought.  Not only is it melting the polar caps, there is also evidence that is messing up the jet stream, as pointed out by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University.

The jet stream is an air current that acts as a sort of conveyor belt.  It not only helps in air travel by “pushing” planes in its direction, but more importantly, it also transports our weather along.

With the polar regions warming, the jet streams are getting loopier.  At times, the flow is the jet stream is streamlined from west to east.  At other times, it takes a loopy path as shown in the image.  According to Francis, the times that the jet stream acts all loopy will occur more often – with disastrous consequences.

If you think that the late snowfall in the east coast was bad, things are bound to get hotter, and not in a good way. The changes in the behavior of the jet stream has already brought “more persistent heat waves in recent summers,” according to researchers from the University of Potsdam in Germany.  An example of this was the 2010 summer heat wave in Russia that had killed an estimated 55,000 people.

Yesterday would have been a great time to do something about greenhouse gas emissions before they started messing up the jet stream, heating things up considerably.  It only goes to show that we’ve got to get our act together to prevent further damage – fast.  Hopefully as fast as a jet.

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