Researchers Discover North Atlantic Warming Hole Impacts The Jet Stream

Source: Phys.org/Pennsylvania State University

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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The North Atlantic warming hole (NAWH), a region of reduced warming located in the North Atlantic Ocean, significantly affects the North Atlantic jet stream in climate simulations of the future, according to a team of researchers.

Sea surface temperatures (SST) are projected to increase in most of the world’s oceans as the result of global climate change. However, within an area of rotating  just south of Greenland an anomaly exists where colder  were documented in both global climate-model projections and in observations.

“It’s called a hole because there is a lack of warming,” said Melissa Gervais, assistant professor of meteorology and , Penn State, who used the Community Earth System model (CESM) to investigate the impact of the NAWH on atmospheric circulation and midlatitude jets. “We found that this region of the  is a really important place for forcing the jet stream that goes across the North Atlantic Ocean.”

The researchers published their findings in the Journal of Climate.

Development of the NAWH is linked to a slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, a large system of ocean currents that carry  from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic, and is thought to be caused by an influx of fresh water coming from melting Arctic sea ice.

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Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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