Study: Weather pattern changes cause regional weather extremes

Circumpolar_vortex_animationFrom the University of Exeter  and the depart of ‘climate not mentioned’ comes this bit that fits in with what most operational meteorologists already know: the circumpolar vortex is a strong influence on weather events.

Regional weather extremes linked to atmospheric variations

New study shows drought, heat waves and cold spells linked to air flow changes

Variations in high-altitude wind patterns expose particular parts of Europe, Asia and the US to different extreme weather conditions, a new study has shown. Changes to air flow patterns around the Northern Hemisphere are a major influence on prolonged bouts of unseasonal weather – whether it be hot, cold, wet or dry.

The high altitude winds normally blow from west to east around the planet, but do not follow a straight path. The flow meanders to the north and south, in a wave-like path.

These wave patterns are responsible for sucking either warm air from the tropics, or cold air from the Arctic, to Europe, Asia, or the US. They can also influence rainfall by steering rain-laden storms.

Pioneering new research, carried out by the University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne, has shown that the development of these wave patterns leaves certain Northern Hemisphere regions more susceptible to different types of prolonged, extreme weather.

Dr James Screen, a Mathematics Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and lead author of the study, said: “The impacts of large and slow moving atmospheric waves are different in different places. In some places amplified waves increase the chance of unusually hot conditions, and in others the risk of cold, wet or dry conditions”.

The study showed that larger waves can lead to droughts in central North America, Europe and central Asia, and western Asia exposed to prolonged wet spells. It also shows western North America and central Asia are more prone to heat waves, while eastern North America is more likely to experience prolonged outbreaks of cold.

The collaborative study used detailed land-based climate observations to identify episodes of abnormal temperature and rainfall from 1979-2012 and then examined the wave patterns during these events.

Co-author Professor Ian Simmonds, from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, said the weather extremes they examined were month-long heat waves, cold spells, droughts and prolonged wet periods, which occurred over large areas.

He said: “The study revealed that these types of events are strongly related to well-developed wave patterns, and that these patterns increase the chance of heat waves in western North America and central Asia, cold outbreaks in eastern North America, droughts in central North America, Europe and central Asia, and wet spells in western Asia.

“The findings are very important for decision makers in assessing the risk of, and planning for the impacts of, extreme weather events in the future.”

###

‘Amplified mid-latitude planetary waves favour particular regional weather extremes’, by Dr James Screen and Professor Ian Simmonds, is published in Nature Climate Change online on Sunday, June 22.

The study received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

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48 thoughts on “Study: Weather pattern changes cause regional weather extremes

  1. “Pioneering new research, carried out by the University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne”

    Pioneering new research ??Are you kidding me ?? This is basic meteorology that anyone in the field would know this & has know this for generations. I can come to one of 2 conclusions :

    1) Climatologists know nothing about weather at all

    2) They are hyping the heck out of this … to get more funding.

    Either way, I don’t like the implications.

  2. Screen and Simmonds…
    “These wave patterns are responsible for sucking either warm air from the tropics, or cold air from the Arctic, to Europe, Asia, or the US. They can also influence rainfall by steering rain-laden storms.”
    Reading such stuff makes you wonder if these two distinguished scientists ever watched global satellite animations… It feels as if the lead author, “mathematics research fellow” is discovering weather patterns… The one eyed are leading the blinds.

  3. Had been better had they been educated in Theories of Science as well as in basic knowledge regarding our Earth….. Basic knowledge a normal 7th grader would have learnt…. Tectonical plates movements, Sea currents resp countercurrents changes from one season to the next and within seasons as well as due to changes in saltinationfactor and water cycle effects when water reach over 27 degrees Celcius, Oblikvitet resp. Vobbling special notification needs to be considered for the first;
    and btw. circle proof isn’t a valid proof, it’s a fallacie!

  4. “the [space] is a strong influence on weather events.” I suspect the missing word is a link to the animated circumpolar vortex. I’m using Chrome.

  5. Lance Wallace says:
    June 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    “the [space] is a strong influence…

    It’s missing in the page source. It should be more than the circumpolar vortex, but a one-word synonym for “Amplified mid-latitude planetary waves”. “Jet streams” would be close enough.

  6. Jeff, I second that. Farmers know about wavy jet stream behavior and blocking patterns. Hunters worth a damn know this stuff. And certainly mainstream meteorologists know this as the bedrock of their work.

    But more importantly, who are these researchers and what is their hidden agenda with this bit of common understanding about heat waves and cold spells? I believe both are fully entrenched in the trench containing the climate catastrophe teat. The two of them have focused on AA (Arctic Amplification) research. And we all know what that means: “The Arctic ice is disappearing at an alarming rate and will soon be gone because of humans.” That the present article, what I could find of it that was free, avoids the use of anthropogenic terms. Behind the paywall I wonder. And maybe the new tactic is to avoid the use of anthropogenic terminology in abstracts so we won’t find the articles and do what we all do here so well: public “where the rubber meets the road” critique.

    Sleuthing around, the lead author participated in a large event last year that focused on the very essence of the paper highlighted in this post. But trust me, these folks were trying to link extreme weather events to AGW. No doubt about it. The hidden agenda is revealed:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CE0QFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.esrl.noaa.gov%2Fpsd%2Fevents%2F2014%2Farctic-predictions-science%2Fdocs%2Fpdf%2FNAS%2520Linkages%2520Bet%2520Arctic%2520Sea%2520Ice%2520Loss%2520%26%2520Mid-Lat%2520Wx%2520Patterns.pdf&ei=3UGnU9HEL4qYyATlooLgCw&usg=AFQjCNGreFFmtaE18FMFhb3o5N7mvbLH9A

  7. Sometimes I wonder if some of these “new” discoveries aren’t anything new but they just haven’t been noticed before.
    Or, when it comes to the CAGW complex, the twist to connect it hasn’t been noticed before.

  8. Cold seems to come from space just above the poles with the polar vortex “channeling” the cold down. The ozone hole surrounds the polar vortex(magnetosphere footprint) and its size is tied to vortex activity, and has nothing to do with CFC’s.. If the polar vortex is more active, I think it was called cold lock, then more of the cold ions and molecules from space reach the earths surface. -138 certainty doesnt come from the earths surface. I would imagine that there is some kind of imprint in the Antarctic or arctic ice layers if one knew what to look for.

  9. “Pioneering new research, carried out by the University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne, has shown that the development of these wave patterns leaves certain Northern Hemisphere regions more susceptible to different types of prolonged, extreme weather.”

    Lawyers from “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” no doubt are preparing a letter right now.

  10. How fascinating. It is now 15 months since I asked the UK Met Office ( based in Exeter) about the jet stream and wind patterns in relation to sucking warm air up from Southern Europe ( and Africa) or pulling cold air down from the arctic or forcing and fixing weather patterns along the jet stream boundary. I wanted to know what research they had done to identify and quantify these and any resultant temperature effects. They weren’t in a position to answer that then.

  11. Hubert Lamb wrote in the 1970s of “meridional circulation”, describing the loopy Jetstream patterns that lead to persistent high- and low-pressure systems in the upper latitudes. These systems are associated with episodes of global cooling, when the pole-equator gradient is greater than in warming episodes.

    “Extreme weather” is driven by greater pole-equator gradients and by the loopy Jetstream circulation – which leads to record highs and lows due to long-term pressure systems.

    Warming conditions lead to more equable weather, fewer extremes, and latitdunal atmospheric circulation

    Nothing new here – move along.

  12. The northern Norwegian city of Tromso experienced a freak summer snowfall on Monday after freezing wind from the North Pole saw temperatures plummet.

    It was the first time since records began that the city had seen snowfall in June. Local meteorologist Trond Lien said that sleet and snow showers hit the city on Monday night, and there has even been some snow lying on the ground. He said that the situation was “very rare”, noting that it must have been a long time since it snowed on 16 June. He added that he had found records showing that Tromso had experienced snowfall in July, but he could find nothing to indicate snow in June.

    http://www.icenews.is/2014/06/22/snow-in-june-only-in-norway/

  13. Huh????!!!!
    I certainly concur with the comments about this “ground breaking research”. This is basic meteorology that I had to learn in my first year meteorology courses. So now this mathematics professor has discovered basic meteorology.
    Maybe I could publish a paper about my recent earth shattering breakthrough in mathematics….I call it Calculus, and am sure no one has ever done this work before.

  14. Sorry, should have added this to link above. “Figure 1: Planetary-wave amplitude anomalies during months of extreme weather.”

  15. Speaking of weather and alleged global cooling and the like. The records for June here are starting to look like we would’ve had more 70 degree days than 90 degree days for the entire month, which is unusual to say the least, but probably not unprecedented.

    On top of that, the US in general is noticing that the high pressure domes that set up during the Summer has been mostly no-shows so far, with none forecast until early July at the least (there is Accuweather forecasting heatwaves, but their silly 40 day forecast is little more accurate than tarot cards more than a week out). Still probably not unprecedented, but a dramatic change from the blast furnace that gave us more than 50 triple digit days a few years ago, which means more wondering when that global warming is supposed to hit us.

  16. ‘The collaborative study used detailed land-based climate observations to identify episodes of abnormal temperature and rainfall from 1979-2012 and then examined the wave patterns during these events.’ If they would have gone back to the 50’s, they could have found similar wave patterns weather events. And to think, back then, we didn’t have “extreme weather events”. It was just called “weather”.

  17. Roy Spencer says:
    June 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm
    well, DUH.

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  18. Adam from Kansas says:
    June 22, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    “Speaking of weather and alleged global cooling and the like. The records for June here are starting to look like we would’ve had more 70 degree days than 90 degree days for the entire month, which is unusual to say the least, but probably not unprecedented.”

    Even Ottawa, Canada should have had some 80-85 degree weather in June, sometimes in May. I think we had 2 days that came close to this. No need for an air conditioner if this keeps up. This is a year without summer for cottage owners who depend on warm May June and July to warm up lakes enough to swim in. Lake Superior had rare ice still in June and it is already a generally cold lake. Hey, now the days are getting shorter again.

  19. Professor Ian Simmonds. Googled him and he turned up at Melbourne Uni’s “Find an Expert”page. Uh Oh. Hate that word. Looked at his areas of interest/expertise and could not help but imagine under subheading ‘Personal Interests’ that he keeps a cellar stocked with some of the finest Kool Ade from the past 50 years.

    And for Dr Screen? Similar areas of interest, a Twitterite at @polar_james, doing the dance of the scientific sugar plum fairies in the arctic wastes. Just gave me that Dr Turney kind of vibe.

    So what do we have here? A bipolar, round the world, dinghy of fools? We have discovered the cause of weather old chap! Break out the Kool Ade!

  20. Roy Spencer says: well, DUH.
    Thanks, Roy, for putting it so politely. In my less civil company we’d say, “No s**t, Sherlock!”.
    I presume this paper will be published in the Journal of Reproduced Results, or the Annals of Repetitive Redundancy, or some other venue that publicizes the rediscovery of the Pythagorean theorem, the wheel, or fire.
    I wrote my thesis on the subject of storm tracks, steering winds, and long waves in the atmosphere. That was back in the 1970s, and the concept was nothing new then – many of my references were from the 1940s and 1950s, and even 1939 (the original Rossby Wave paper; look it up in Wikipedia). I merely applied these concepts to a region of the arctic. Steering winds have been used by hurricane forecasters for 60+ years, and are old news in any weather forecasting book. TV forecasters talked about steering winds in living black & white in the 1950s and 60s, until they became reliant on the more colorful model outputs.
    You can read all about this stuff in classic works like the “Compendium of Meteorology” (1344 pages, 1951) and the 800-page “Dynamic Meteorology and Weather Forecasting” (1950), written mostly by guys with unpronounceable Norwegian names and published by the American Meteorological Society. That was back when the AMS dabbled in in such quaint things as weather maps and weather forecasting, and left climate to a few eggheads (like HH Lamb) who actually looked at observations and learned things.
    Lest you think I’m kidding about climate, I’ll close with a quip from the Compendium. In its 1344 pages the authors saw fit to dedicate two paragraphs to carbon dioxide and climate (around page 1010). The closing sentences of those paragraphs goes:
    “But during the past 7000 years there have been greater fluctuations of temperature without the intervention of man, and there seems no reason to regard the recenjt rise as more than a concidence. This theory is not considered further.”
    Ah, the wisdom of the ancients.

  21. OK, the almost last sentence goes:
    … there seems no reason to regard the recent rise as more than a coincidence.
    Somehow the typos didn’t look so obvious in the editing box.

  22. I haven’t seen Dumb and Dumber ‘to’….yet so please don’t spoil it for me, but I’m guessing that Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne went on to become ‘climate scientists’ at Exeter and Melbourne universities and that in the hilarious sequel they will uncover a link between ‘climate and weather’.

  23. Richard Keen says: June 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm
    Ah, the wisdom of the ancients.

    “This theory is not considered further.”

    At last, a suitable epitaph for CAGW.

  24. The fundamental mistake they are all making is to think there is such a thing as extreme weather. There is not. There is just weather. It has not provably changed in the last 1,000 years. Its heat, cold, wet and dry have a certain distribution – with very long tails. This has not changed either. In the UK the floods of 1929 and the winter of 1948 will recur, and they will not be extreme weather when they do. They will just be the normal variability in English weather that the English have been living with for centuries.

    But which the current generation has for some reason chosen to get hysterically alarmed about.

    I guess its less damaging than a lot of mass hysterias. Its not war hysteria, its not genocide. Its sort of like the perpetual alternation between thinking any fat is lethal and then that any carbs are lethal. Or its like anti-vaccine mania. But at least this one is not actively killing people in acts of violence. For once.

  25. “the [space] is a strong
    influence on weather events.”

    to

    “theRE is a strong
    influence on weather events.”

    brg Hans

  26. M Seward says:
    June 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm
    Professor Ian Simmonds. Googled him and he turned up at Melbourne Uni’s “Find an Expert”page. Uh Oh. Hate that word.

    So do I the word “expert” send shivers up my back,

    adj. pert·er, pert·est
    1. Trim and stylish in appearance; jaunty: a pert hat.
    2. High-spirited; vivacious.
    3. Impudently bold; saucy

    So what is an Ex pert?

  27. michel says:
    June 23, 2014 at 12:25 am

    “…But at least this one is not actively killing people in acts of violence. For once.”
    //////////////////

    But unfortunately, it is.

    For the past few years the number of avoiadable premature deaths in winter has been in the range of about 25,000 to 30,000 annually. This is mainly due to the needlessly high cost of energy (electricity prices are at least double what they need to be as a consequence of the YK Government’s renewab;e energy policy) and gas prices could fall substantially if only fracking was brought on stream.

    There is evidence that the high food prices driven by global incentives to subsidise the growing of bio fuels, over traditional farming, and because of this the very substantial decline in US export of grains, contributed to the Arab Spring. Already perhaps one hundred thousand people (if not more) have died as a result of the Arab Spring, and many more displaced andthere is now a huge kick back towards western security.

    These people deal in death, and this needs to be got accross to the public.

  28. Melbourne Uni
    another Fail
    Facepalm!
    I hope the fella is enjoying the antarctic chill Aus is presently getting, 5c where I am and snow down to 600metre line they reckon
    even NSW is going to cop the cold.

  29. asybot says:
    June 23, 2014 at 1:17 am

    So what is an Ex pert?”

    “Ex” is a Latin prefix meaning a has-been; a “spurt” is a drip under pressure. Hence “expert”.

  30. Robertvd says:
    June 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm
    “The northern Norwegian city of Tromso experienced a freak summer snowfall on Monday after freezing wind from the North Pole saw temperatures plummet.”

    How about this then?

    2nd June 1975 – This day in 1975 – Snow Stopped Play!

    http://www.lccc.co.uk/news/this-day-in-1975-snow-stopped-play/2894

    “…..By the end of the day, Derbyshire were 25-2, still more than 450 runs behind their opponents and, after victory in the John Player League game on Sunday 1 June, the hosts returned to the Park on Monday for the second day of the Championship match and were astonished to see an inch of snow covering the ground. The cause, according to the Meteorological Office, had been a depression moving down from the Arctic, bringing very cold air with it. Table 3, below, is a summary of the 1975 summer.

    Table 3: A report explaining the geographical factors behind the snow in June 1975 (www.netweather.tv)
    Conditions had been miserably cold through much of May 1975, and when June arrived a northerly blast of Arctic air brought a biting frost across Scotland. Early on June 2 the thermometer at Gleneagles, Perthshire, sank to 3.3oC (26oF), a temperature more likely in the depths of winter than early summer. The cold air swept into England and snow fell as far south as East Anglia and London, with sleet reaching Portsmouth. Although the snow quickly melted in the South, it settled on the ground further north.

    Famously, snow stopped play at a county cricket match between Derbyshire and Lancashire in Buxton, where snow reached an inch deep. Snow also delayed play between Essex and Kent at Colchester, accompanied by midday temperatures of 2oC (36oF), and John Arlott reported snow at a cricket match at Lord’s. The cold snap lasted a while, with snow lying on the ground for four days in parts of Scotland. But on June 6 the British weather lived up to its fickle reputation, when a heatwave sent temperatures soaring in northeast Scotland to 25oC (77oF). A gloriously hot summer across Britain followed……”

  31. [quoting article]

    Pioneering new research, carried out by the University of Exeter and the University of Melbourne, has shown that ……..
    ——————

    HA, that should have read ….. “Re-pioneering old research” …… because the original research on the high altitude winds (the Jet Stream) was done nigh onto 75+- years ago which resulted in the first and only “fire bombing” of the US mainland during WWII.

    Anyway, ….. I previously had a “url link” to a free-access “Animated Jet Stream” which displayed the past 7 or so days of activity ….. and which I often referenced (looked at) for various reasons ….. but that “url” no longer works for me and I have not been able to find another one like it.

    Thus, I would appreciate it if someone could provide me with a working “url link” to a free-access “Animated Jet Stream”.

    Thanks much, …. Sam C

  32. “Cold seems to come from space just above the poles with the polar vortex “channeling” the cold down. The ozone hole surrounds the polar vortex(magnetosphere footprint) and its size is tied to vortex activity, and has nothing to do with CFC’s..”

    While I agree with you concerning CFCs, I don’t think there is much “atmosphere” out in space. Most of our atmosphere resides in the lower 18,000-30,000 feet of the troposphere. Now there are occasions during winter months when the atmosphere is so dense that the 500mb HPA levels drop heights half of what they are in summer. And what drives these extreme changes in atmospheric density does have everything to do with high level changes in the stratosphere as well as changes in low level interactions of oceans/atmosphere in the tropics.

  33. There is a 7-year rule in the magazine publishing industry. Writers can take articles written 7 years ago, rewrite them ever-so-slightly and resubmit them, often to the very same magazine, and sell them as new articles.

    Perhaps Dr. Screen is counting on a 70-year rule in the world of atmospheric science. Go back 70 years ago and see what was published in the journals. Rewrite the articles ever-so-slightly by sprinkling the words ‘computer models’ every few paragraphs and resubmit the articles as ground-breaking research!

    Thanks to this 70-year rule, research scientists will no longer be burdened with the cumbersome prerequisite of at least modest intelligence!

  34. Michael – from memory, the very harsh British winter was 1947, not 1948. Incidentally, it was followed by a wonderful summer in which batsmen – Denis Compton in particular – ran riot. This is not an entirely trivial matter because in those days cricket was played on uncovered pitches, so good summers tended to favour the bat over the ball.

  35. “Regionoal weather extremes” are caused by “changes in weather patterns”? How much can I get paid for applying circular logic and begging the questions?

  36. It makes you wonder about the researchers. Were they first year students? Did they take any physical science classes, much less a meteorology class (no “environmental science” doesn’t count)?

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