Weather Whiplashing and Jetstream Waviness

The Climate Emergency Forum welcomes Dr. Jennifer Francis to discuss two of her recent papers on Weather Whiplashing, which is defined as an abrupt shift from one persistent set of often extreme weather conditions to another.

This video was recorded on February 27th, 2024, and published on March 10th, 2024.

Dr. Francis introduces the concept of weather whiplashing and provides examples like sudden temperature drops and shifts from drought to heavy rain, highlighting the impact of these events on regions like Florida and California. Dr. Francis explains how weather whiplash events are diagnosed by analyzing patterns in the jet stream using self-organizing maps, emphasizing the role of the Arctic’s warming in increasing the frequency of these events.

The dialogue delves into the intricate relationship between atmospheric patterns, jet stream dynamics, and weather phenomena. Dr. Francis illustrates how anomalies in the upper-level atmosphere can lead to significant shifts in weather patterns, affecting regions like Florida with freeze events and temperature extremes. She discusses the use of AI tools to analyze atmospheric patterns over time and predict future trends in weather whiplash events, particularly focusing on scenarios where the Arctic’s warming plays a crucial role in driving these shifts.

Participants engage in a thought-provoking discussion on the complexities of jet stream behavior, climate factors influencing atmospheric dynamics, and implications for global weather patterns. Questions raised by participants highlight key aspects such as variations in jet stream configurations, heat transfer between equator and poles, and the impact of Arctic warming on jet stream speed and waviness.

Dr. Francis addresses inquiries about ocean currents’ correlation with jet stream patterns and explains how subtleties in jet streams affect phenomena like record low transit times for airplanes flying across continents. The dialogue underscores the interdisciplinary nature of climate research and the interconnectedness of various environmental factors shaping our planet’s weather systems.


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