A team of scientists has discovered an unexpected disruption in one of the most repeatable atmospheric patterns
The normal flow of air high up in the atmosphere over the equator, known as the quasi-biennial oscillation, was seen to break down earlier this year. These stratospheric winds are found high above the tropics, their direction and strength changes in a regular two- to three-year cycle which provides forecasters with an indication of the weather to expect in Northern Europe. Westerly winds are known to increase the chance of warm and wet conditions, while easterlies bring drier and colder weather.
Scientists from NCAS at the University of Oxford and the Met Office were part of an international team that observed the unusual behaviour in February, noticing a reversal of the expected pattern in the winds. This same team then identified the reason why.
The quasi-biennial oscillation is a regular feature of the climate system. On average, these equatorial eastward and westward winds alternate every 28 to 29 months, making them very predictable in the long term. The team’s findings published in Science this week, show that this unexpected change in wind direction was caused by atmospheric waves in the Northern Hemisphere.
Dr Scott Osprey, an NCAS scientist at the University of Oxford, said: “The recent disruption in the quasi-biennial oscillation was not predicted, not even one month ahead. If we can get to the bottom of why the normal pattern was affected in this way, we could develop more confidence in our future seasonal forecasts.”
Prof Adam Scaife, Head of Long-range Forecasting at the Met Office and Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, said: “This unexpected disruption to the climate system switches the cycling of the quasi-biennial oscillation forever. And this is important as it is one of the factors that will influence the coming winter.”
A return to more typical behaviour within the next year is forecast, though scientists believe that the quasi-biennial oscillation could become more susceptible to similar disruptions as the climate warms.
Later this month international research groups will meet in Oxford to discuss the origins and implications of this event.
The Latest on: Unprecedented atmospheric behavior
via Google News
The Latest on: Unprecedented atmospheric behavior
- US film company Blackhall to build £150m Reading studios creating 3,000 jobson February 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “The booming film and TV industries continue to demonstrate unprecedented growth and in 2019 inward investment ...
- Cosmic rays change atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titanon February 18, 2020 at 10:31 am
Galactic cosmic rays from outside of the solar system may change the atmosphere of Saturn's moon ... from Florida on Sunday will give scientists an unprecedented view of the Sun. Why it matters: ...
- Solar Orbiter Embarks on Unprecedented Mission to Photograph Sun's Poleson February 10, 2020 at 5:17 am
Seeking a view of the Sun's poles, the Solar Orbiter will journey out of the ecliptic plane—the belt of space, roughly aligned with the Sun's equator, through which all the planets orbit.
- Solar Orbiter Launch Takes Solar Science to New Heightson February 9, 2020 at 9:06 pm
"By the end of our Solar Orbiter mission, we will know more about the hidden force responsible for the Sun's changing behavior and its influence on our home planet than ... The remote-sensing ...
- NASA and ESA set to launch Solar Orbiter on mission towards the sunon February 9, 2020 at 5:47 am
The structure itself, roughly the size of a U-Haul truck, accommodates 10 different instruments – designed to take images of the sun's surface, and gauge the atmosphere and magnetic field surrounding ...
- Divided views of ‘Divided States of America’ | Letterson February 7, 2020 at 2:53 pm
In nine months, as more facts and truth emerge about Trump’s behavior and character, the American people get to decide what they ... happily provides a rationale for state and national economic ...
- Did Hawley use state resources for political gain? Audit says private emails cloud findingon February 6, 2020 at 10:00 am
The release of the transcripts, not unprecedented but a departure from usual practice, added to the politically charged atmosphere surrounding the audit ... and then went to Twitter to disseminate ...
- New solar telescope produces images of sun's surface with 'unprecedented detail'on January 30, 2020 at 7:45 am
The National Science Foundation released the highest resolution image of the sun's surface on Wednesday which "reveal unprecedented ... s explosive behavior in the solar atmosphere.
- Mobile protected areas for biodiversity on the high season January 16, 2020 at 11:15 am
3 School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University ... Yet even though climate change is resulting in shifts in species' ranges (2) and in the behavior of the human users of mobile, ...
via Bing News