Climate Change & The Jet Stream

Published by DonDavidson on

I have written in some of these blog entries about the impact of climate change on hurricanes, droughts, the oceans, the Arctic, and some of God’s creatures. Did you know climate change is also impacting the jet stream?

The jet stream is a fast-moving wind located about four to eight miles above the earth’s surface. Think of the jet stream like a river of air.

This wind, which can reach speeds upwards of 275 miles per hour, is caused by the earth’s rotation and the contrast between colder air to the north (in the northern hemisphere, at least) and warmer air to the south. The jet stream travels along the boundary between these two air masses. The temperature difference is most pronounced during the winter time, so that is when the jet stream is the strongest and fastest. (There are actually two jet streams in the northern hemisphere—the polar jet stream at about 50 to 60 degrees latitude and the sub-tropical jet stream at about 30 degrees latitude.)

The jet stream always travels from west to east, but it doesn’t usually travel due east, instead often swinging to the north or south like a drunk driver weaving down a highway. In addition, in the northern hemisphere the jet stream moves northward during the spring and summer, and back southward as the weather cools during the autumn and winter. It pushes weather systems from west to east, which is why storms almost always move in that direction.

So what is climate change doing to the jet stream?

Climate change is warming the Arctic about twice as fast as areas further south. As a result, the contrast between the colder air to the north and the warmer air to the south is becoming less pronounced. This is weakening the jet stream, slowing it down and making it more susceptible to big north-south swings. A slower jet stream also leaves weather systems in place longer. We can see the results of this weakening in two very different, but similarly catastrophic, recent weather events.

In the winter of 2021, the jet stream took a deep dive to the south, bringing unusually cold air to Texas for several days and causing power plants all over the state to freeze and temporarily cease functioning.

In the summer of 2021, the weakened jet stream left high pressure in control in the western United States and Canada for weeks, resulting in a heat wave that raised temperatures to record levels in many locations: 121.3º F in Canada, 121º F in Palm Springs, California, and 119º F in the state of Washington.

None of this is surprising to climate scientists, who have been predicting such cataclysmic effects of climate change for decades. But I believe climate change may also be fulfilling biblical prophecy concerning the last days of earth, as I wrote in Chapter 11 of my book, Beyond Blind Faith. That chapter, entitled “Apocalypse Soon,” is available for you to read on this website, for free, here.


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