Study links swings in North Atlantic Oscillation to climate warming

Wednesday, July 22, 2009   
 Study links swings in North Atlantic Oscillation to climate warming
The North Atlantic Oscillation is described by the NAO index, calculated as a weighted difference between the polar low and the subtropical high during the winter season. In a positive phase, both the low-pressure zone over Iceland and high pressure over the Azores are intensified, resulting in changes in the strength, incidence, and pathway of winter storms crossing the Atlantic. In a negative phase, a weak subtropical high and a weak Icelandic low results in fewer and weaker winter storms crossing on a more west-east pathway. The NAO index varies from year to year, but also exhibits a tendency to remain in one phase for intervals lasting more than a decade. An unusually long period of positive phase between 1970-2000 led to the suggestion that global warming was affecting the behavior of the NAO. An article in Powerboat World.


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