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Is the pattern of our weather changing?

PUBLISHED: 22:57 16 February 2014 | UPDATED: 22:57 16 February 2014

A Weatherquest graphic showing the movement of the jetstream over the coming week. Credit: Dan Holley.

A Weatherquest graphic showing the movement of the jetstream over the coming week. Credit: Dan Holley.

Archant

The jetstream weather system that dictates much of our weather may be changing, according to new research.

Studies suggest the high-speed air current is taking a longer and more meandering path, meaning that weather across northern Europe and North America has remained the same for prolonged periods.

The jetstream’s path could account for stormy weather remaining over the UK longer than expected, and the sub-zero temperatures seen across the midwest of the US.

Scientists presenting the research at a meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science believe it may be due to rising Arctic temperatures, which reduces the temperature differential between the Arctic and lower latitudes – and therefore the jetstream’s power – meaning it can be diverted by other areas of high pressure.

In the shorter term, the next few weeks are likely to see cold air from Canada strengthening the jet stream – shown in the graphic above from Weatherquest – leading to further spells of low pressure and unsettled weather, though the centre of the lows, and therefore the most extreme weather, is likely to fall over north-west England.

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