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North Atlantic Oscillation wtf

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01/09/2010 10:05 AM
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North Atlantic Oscillation wtf
North Atlantic Oscillation
The NAO is the dominant mode of winter climate variability in the North Atlantic region ranging from central North America to Europe and much into Northern Asia. The NAO is a large scale seesaw in atmospheric mass between the subtropical high and the polar low. The corresponding index varies from year to year, but also exhibits a tendency to remain in one phase for intervals lasting several years.

Positive NAO Index

The Positive NAO index phase shows a stronger than usual subtropical high pressure center and a deeper than normal Icelandic low.

The increased pressure difference results in more and stronger winter storms crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a more northerly track.

This results in warm and wet winters in Europe and in cold and dry winters in northern Canada and Greenland

The eastern US experiences mild and wet winter conditions

The NAO index is defined as the anomalous difference between the polar low and the subtropical high during the winter season (December through March)

Negative NAO Index
The negative NAO index phase shows a weak subtropical high and a weak Icelandic low.

The reduced pressure gradient results in fewer and weaker winter storms crossing on a more west-east pathway.

They bring moist air into the Mediterranean and cold air to northern Europe

The US east coast experiences more cold air outbreaks and hence snowy weather conditions.

Greenland, however, will have milder winter temperatures
[link to www.ldeo.columbia.edu]
North Atlantic Oscillation blamed for cold spell
December was 2 degrees below normal, early January nearly 4 degrees
[link to www.baltimoresun.com]

[link to www.ldeo.columbia.edu]