Here's Everything You Need To Know About Why The Weather's Been So Bad
As the U.K. floods and the U.S. freezes, blame it on increased rainfall in the West Pacific, and some meandering jet streams. (And maybe blame climate change.)
The weather's been terrible on both sides of the Atlantic for months. But why?
Britain's Met Office recently released a preliminary report trying to explain just why the winter has been so crappy. It's 24 pages of rather complicated meteorology. But it gives us a pretty good explanation of why everything is so dreadful.
Basically, it's all the fault of the jet stream. And Indonesia.
Normally the jet stream works something like this:
But 2013 saw substantially more rainfall in Indonesia, due to the recent warming of the West Pacific.
That unusual rainfall in the West Pacific pushed the jet stream much further north than usual.
Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than that. (Because the global weather system is insanely complex.)
And all that's before you take into account the polar night jet, which was also unusually strong this year.
So: there were a lot of contributory factors. But the report concludes that "the Pacific Ocean has been a major driver of this winter’s severe weather".
But the big question, of course, is this - was climate change ultimately to blame?
Sea levels are rising, and will keep on rising.
Britain may well be likely to suffer more frequent and more severe downpours in the future.
And while we're not getting more storms, the storms we do get are becoming worse.
So it might be a good idea to prepare yourselves for quite a bit more of this in the future.
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