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Archive for the ‘Arctic vortex’ Category

Unraveling El Niño Mysteries

Posted by feww on March 18, 2010

The following entry is adopted from a NOAA site. They say their researchers have found clues in stratosphere, troposphere and Arctic Vortex that help them unravel El Niño’s ‘mysteries.’

Unraveling El Niño’s Mysteries: New Clues Found in Stratosphere, Troposphere and Arctic Vortex

El Niño’s emergence in the Pacific Ocean creates ripple effects that extend around the globe.

El Niño (Spanish for “the little boy”) is a natural phenomenon that refers to irregular periods of sea surface temperature warming in the tropical Pacific that impacts global weather patterns.


Supercell.
Source NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño influences our weather:  Ocean temperature, air temperature, ocean currents, winds at various altitudes, air pressure … , and its effects are even more complicated  by human-caused climate change.

El Niño causes weather chaos across the globe:

  • More intense storms in the West Coast of  United States,  but  fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast.
  • India, southeastern Africa, northern Brazil, and Australia usually experience dramatically drier conditions. Shifts in patterns are even stronger in other parts of the world.


Layers of the atmosphere. Source: NOAA. Click image to enlarge.

El Niño creates  highly complex “ripples” that alter atmospheric features from the ocean surface right up to the stratosphere, high above the Earth.

The stratosphere,  a layer of the atmosphere beginning about five miles above sea level, influences weather at ground level. The stratospheric layer of the atmosphere is located above the troposphere.

The troposphere begins at the Earth’s surface and extends up to 6-20 km (4-12 miles) high. We occupy this layer.  The stratosphere begins above the troposphere and extends up to 50 km above the Earth’s surface. This layer holds 19 percent of the atmosphere’s gases but very little water vapor.

Researchers say they have recently found a connection between another atmospheric feature, swirling upper-level winds called the Arctic vortex, and colder than average winters in Europe. They have found links between three factors that also influence the Arctic vortex:

  • El Niño
  • Cooling of the tropical stratosphere
  • Warming of the Arctic stratosphere

More information on El Niño :

Posted in Arctic vortex, atmosphere, Pacific Ocean, stratosphere, Supercell | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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