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.

Last modified September 18, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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