Click on image for full size
Courtesy of UCAR
The North Atlantic Oscillation
Will school be cancelled because of snowstorms this winter? If your school is in eastern North America or northern Europe, then the number of snowy days will depend on the North Atlantic Oscillation.
Changes in pressure in the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean affect winter weather. This changing pressure is called the North Atlantic Oscillation.
The changes in pressure cause changes in the amount of wind and the number of winter storms that cross the Atlantic. This affects the weather in North America, Europe, and North Africa.
When strong winds cross the North Atlantic, they bring wet winter storms from eastern North America to northern Europe.
When there is less wind over the ocean, there are fewer winter storms in eastern North America and northern Europe. The weather is rainy in southern Europe and North Africa.
Scientists are using computer models to study the North Atlantic Oscillation and figure out whether it is changing because of global warming.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
You might also be interested in:
Wind is moving air. Warm air rises, and cool air comes in to take its place. This movement creates the winds around the globe. Winds move at different speeds and have different names based on their speed....more
Earth’s climate is getting warmer. During the past 100 years Earth’s average temperature rose about 0.6° Celsius (1.0° F). Things that people are doing like burning fossil fuels, changing the way land...more
Sometimes the way the air moves around in the atmosphere changes.The way water moves through the ocean can change too. These changes can cause unusual weather for a few weeks or a few months or a year...more
Changes in the atmosphere in one place can affect the weather very far away. Scientists call this phenomenon teleconnections. Sometimes the way air moves around the atmosphere changes over time. The changes...more
Looking for online content that can be used for a climate change education course or module? Pages linked below can be used to support an introductory climate change education for either a unit or a full...more
Leaders from the countries of the world are heading to Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 to decide how the world will deal with climate change. They will make decisions about how to send less greenhouse...more
How do you know to pack your bathing suit and sunhat for a trip to a tropical island or pack warm sweaters and coats for a trip to Alaska? If you know a little about regional climates, then you know what...more