The Polar jet stream carries weather systems around the northern hemisphere. New research finds that warming in the atmosphere due to carbon pollution is disrupting its flow and contributing to dangerous extreme weather events. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
President Donald Trump may be trying to scrub his predecessor’s initiatives to fight climate change from just about every corner of the federal government — Exhibit A being this week’s executive order aimed at undoing Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — but the reality of the climate crisis is not going away.
And the dangers we’re facing may have gotten even clearer this week with a new study confirming a strong link between a warming atmosphere caused by human pollution and a growing wave of extreme weather events around the world.
The study, by veteran climate researcher Michael Mann at Penn State University and colleagues in the US and Europe, may nail down a phenomenon hinted at for several years: that rapid warming in the Arctic is disrupting the Northern Hemisphere’s jet stream, which in turn is causing weather systems to slow down, turning rainstorms into extended deluges, hot days into heat waves, and dry spells into droughts.