THOMPSON: The role jet streams play in weather and air travel | iNFOnews


February 05, 2024 – 12:00 PM



Ask somebody what they know concerning the jet stream and after a quizzical look, they’re apt to reply your query with a question-like “that’s the wind that hastens or slows down jets, proper?”

It – or extra exactly they – do, certainly, have an effect on jets flying throughout the globe. However jet streams do way more. Particularly, the polar-front and subtropical jet streams largely management our climate. These jet streams type and intensify when chilly air meets heat air.

The ensuing winds – usually 80 to 140 mph – all the time circulation West to East within the Northern Hemisphere…with the jet stream within the Southern Hemisphere largely circling Antarctica.

Jet stream wind speeds can often attain 275 mph. I caught such a robust tailwind flying on a red-eye to France one time…arriving in Lyon nearly two hours early…not even the customs officers have been working.

Jet streams are strongest throughout Winter months…when the temperature variations forming them are best. These high-level wind currents exist between 5 and 9 miles above the Earth’s floor and are in a kind of fixed state of change.

They transfer to increased and decrease altitudes, and typically even break up, relying on the season…even the solar can have an effect on them. Throughout colder months the jet streams transfer towards the Equator…returning towards the poles in Spring.

Past these modifications, local weather change is shaking issues up with jet streams…and that doesn’t bode effectively for future air journey…and extra importantly…our climate.

When jet streams change dramatically…shifting or breaking up…humorous issues – as in peculiar – occur with our climate. They will make hurricanes come ashore in Northern states and provinces or deliver killer freezes to Florida.

As you would possibly anticipate, world warming – an actual factor regardless of political resistance – is occurring on the poles greater than elsewhere all over the world…about 4 instances sooner than the tropics, in accordance with science.

Greenland lived as much as its identify 56 million years in the past when volcanoes dotted the land throughout a sudden local weather change. Again then rising sea ranges didn’t endanger a lot coastal populations. But when the ice of Greenland all melted right now…the world’s oceans would rise 23 toes.

Scientific research point out that as jet streams develop into extra erratic as Earth warms, climate occasions like torrential rains might keep over areas for weeks. Floods will develop into widespread the place there haven’t been floods.

Whereas Winters are literally trending towards hotter temperatures in North America over time…it’s nonetheless doable to get report chilly Winter temperatures, in accordance with scientists. When a jet stream breaks, a polar vortex pushes a low-pressure space South within the Northern hemisphere…inflicting report chilly temperatures.

This not solely confounds some people…it feeds the unending urge for food of conspiracy theorists who contend world warming is a high-level plot involving scientists worldwide.

Scientists proceed to check jet streams…attempting to gage how jet stream modifications will additional impression our climate. We now have discovered that more and more so-called “jet streaks” – tremendous high-speed winds – really exist inside jet streams.

Analysis by the College of Chicago and the U.S. Nationwide Science Basis Nationwide Middle for Atmospheric Analysis experiences that “the quickest upper-level jet stream winds will speed up by about 2% for each diploma Celsius (1.8 levels Fahrenheit) that the world warms.”

The quickest winds – these “jet streaks” – will pace up 2.5 instances sooner than the common jet stream wind, scientists say, including that cases of clear air turbulence and tough rides are rising…and can seemingly proceed.

Over the previous 5 years, a number of business jets have attained speeds exceeding 800 mph crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Europe. These flights additionally skilled elevated turbulence in these “jet streaks”.

The jet streams will proceed to play an enormous function in air journey and climate…and the modifications won’t profit us as a lot as prior to now.

An previous proverb says, “forewarned is forearmed”…maybe.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a profession that spans greater than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an promoting and public relations agency. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written phrase as a lot as wonderful dinners with nice wines.

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