Jet Lag: What’s Causing One of the Driest, Warmest Winters in History?
The jet stream controls winter weather, but strange forces are controlling the jet stream this season
By Mark Fischetti | January 12, 2012
A little snow and rain are falling in a few states today, but the 2011–12 winter has been extremely warm and dry across the continental U.S. Meteorologists think they have figured out why.
First, a few records: The initial week of January was the driest in history. And more than 95 percent of the U.S. had below-average snow cover—the greatest such percentage ever recorded—according to some intriguing data maps generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During December, approximately half of the U.S. had temperatures at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit above average, and more than 1,500 daily record highs were set from January 2 to 8. Europe has seen similar extremes.
The chief suspect behind the mysterious weather is an atmospheric pressure pattern called the Arctic Oscillation, which circles the high Northern Hemisphere. Its lower edge is known as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Together, the related features influence the path and strength of the jet stream. The jet itself is an air current that flows west to east across the northern latitudes of the U.S., Europe and Asia, altering temperature and precipitation as portions of it dip southward or crest northward. A strong jet stream that flows in a somewhat straight line from west to east, with few southward dips, prevents cold arctic air from drifting south. “The cause of this warm first half of winter is the most extreme configuration of the jet stream ever recorded,” according to Jeffrey Masters, a meteorologist who runs theWeather Underground, a Web site that analyzes severe weather data.
“While We Were Sleeping”
Orwell Rolls In His Grave, featuring MCM – Buy the DVD
About News From Underground
News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.
If you'd like to receive updates delivered to your inbox daily, sign up for News From Underground Alerts:
Help News From Underground!
Message from Mark: "I am a one-man operation, although assisted greatly by some volunteers, and, now and then, by people paid by others for one-time projects. There is no shortage of skilled, dedicated folks out there who want to help me. There is, however, nothing I can pay them with, unless you decide you can contribute something."
Please donate via the PayPal button above or via PayPal by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kati Marton on “The Polk Conspiracy”—a gem on the Forbidden Bookshelf (MUST-READ)
- MI5’s fat file on Eric Hobsbawm included stuff the Nazis had collected on him
- Under TPP, the power of international investors will be ABSOLUTE—and ObamaCo has lied and lied about it
- Did NYU hire a private eye to dig for dirt on one of its professors, and a NYTimes reporter? (Looks like it….)
- Top US scientists—those working at Los Alamos—say NO to vaccines for their kids
- Please SIGN Elizabeth Warren’s petition to halt “fast track” of TPP! on
- Education should be free, and so should student debtors on
- Exit polls in Florida show Democrat way, way ahead in race for governor on
- Don’t buy these products from Koch Industries! on
- PETITION to the US State Department from the family of Dr. Robert Black on
- Forbidden Bookshelf
- Don't buy these products from Koch Industries!
- Democrats won't say a word about high-flying pedophile (and FOB) Jeffrey Epstein---and neither will Republicans! (How come?)
- The strange death of Nancy Schaefer (two items)
- Whose planes are making ammunition drops for ISIS?
- The International Human Press
- Democratic Undergroud
- Veterans for Common Sense
- Thom Hartmann
- The Existentialist Cowboy
- The Rude Pudit
- William Betz
- Richard Charnin
- Evil GOP Bastards
- Early America
- History Unfolding
- Election Defense Alliance
- Writers Voice
- The Ostroy Report
- Talking Points Memo
- Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
- Barry Gordon
- alias Bruce
- Citizens for Legitimate Government
Need a bigger font size?
- Your link could be here too, contact us for pricing details.