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Tag Archives: climate science

Bad weather? Blame Santa

By Margaret Harris in Chicago

If you’re fed up with floods in England, sick of snow in the US or mystified by mild temperatures in Scandinavia, blame it on Santa Claus. That’s the message coming from atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis, whose “Santa’s revenge” hypothesis suggests that the weather weirdness that we’re currently seeing at middle latitudes could be linked to recent warming in the Arctic.

Francis’ theory begins with the polar jet stream, the high-altitude “river of air” that flows over parts of the northern hemisphere. This jet stream owes its existence to the temperature differential between the Arctic region and middle latitudes: because warm air expands, that temperature differential produces a “hill” of air with (for example) England at the top and Greenland at the bottom. The Earth’s rotation means that air doesn’t flow straight down this hill; instead, it curves around, producing the west–east flow seen in animations like the one in this video from the NASA Goddard Science Visualization Studio.


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Is your ‘Vision’ the same as your climate science colleagues?

by Liz Kalaugher

In climate science, projections tend to be long-term and patience is required to discover their accuracy. But by entering the Vision Prize polls you can find out in just a few months how well you predicted your colleagues’ views, as well as how much you agree with majority thinking.

vision-prize-160x60In this quarter’s polls you can comment on when sea-level will rise 1 metre above 2000 levels, which regions will see most weather disasters in the 2030s, the likelihood of geoengineering deployment in the form of solar radiation management, which technologies could most slow climate change this century, and whether burning all currrent fossil fuel reserves would bring more than 3 degrees of warming.

It’s free to sign up, participants are vetted to ensure they have relevant expertise, the poll takes around 5-10 minutes to complete, and the best predictors win prizes for the charity of their choice.

  • environmentalresearchweb has set up a collaboration with VisionPrize.


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