Jet stream changes may hit global breadbaskets

jet streams

Patterns in the winds of the jet stream that circles the Earth can bring simultaneous heatwaves to breadbasket regions which provide up to a quarter of global crops, scientists have found.

Extreme weather on this scale can significantly harm food production, making prices soar and fuelling social unrest. Western North America, western Europe, western Russia, Ukraine and the Caspian Sea region are especially susceptible.

In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change the researchers, from Germany, Australia and the US, explain how specific wave patterns in the jet stream strongly increase the chance of heatwaves occurring at the same time in different parts of the globe.

The jet stream is a fast-moving river of air that continuously circles the northern hemisphere from west to east. It generally confines itself to a relatively narrow band, but can meander north or south, due to a feature scientists call Rossby waves.

Among other effects, these atmospheric wobbles may pull frigid air masses from the polar regions, or hot ones from the subtropics, into the populous mid-latitudes.

“We will see more and more heatwaves striking different areas at the same time, and they will become even more severe”
The wobbles strongly influence daily weather. When they grow particularly large they can bring prolonged heatwaves, droughts or floods in summer, or in colder seasons abnormal cold spells.

The waves have hit in 1983, 2003, 2006, 2012 and 2018, when many temperature records fell across the US, Canada, Scandinavia and Siberia. As well as killing crops, the waves have killed thousands of people, especially in Europe and Russia, where air conditioning is far less common than in North America.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

Author

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Please share this article with your friends!

Related Articles

All
  • All
  • Awards
  • Business
  • Crops
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Featured Article
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Hospitality
  • Human Resources
  • Irrigation
  • Latest News
  • Lifestyle
  • Livestock
  • Recipes
  • Soil
  • Under cover farming
  • Water
Agriculture transformation

The COVID-19 recovery is a chance to transform global agriculture

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the risks of unhealthy diets and the extreme fragility of the global food system. It disproportionately affects people who are...
Container management

Why Container Management Matters

Plastic polymers such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are extremely valuable as packaging materials for a wide range of commodities because they are light (in mass),...
Agro-processing

Opportunities in Agro-Processing

The article intends to highlight the many opportunities within the agro-processing industry for agricultural engineers to assist small and medium scale agro-processing entrepreneurs with entering...
Posted in

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisements