North Atlantic Ocean yields clues for better weather predictions

North Atlantic Ocean yields clues for better weather predictions

“Our knowledge of the interaction”—between the ocean and the atmosphere—“was mostly one way,” says Kwon, a senior scientist in WHOI’s Department of Physical Oceanography. A June paper that Kwon coauthored shows that “atmospheric blocking,” over the North Atlantic, a weather phenomenon that stalls the normal progression of weather, can be predicted due to its relationship to the ocean, and natural variability in the North Atlantic. This finding “will lead to more attention to how the ocean can be an important source of predictability in weather and climate,” says Kwon. The ability to forecast atmospheric blocking could have far-reaching implications for predicting its impact on elements of the Earth system such agriculture, sea ice, fisheries, and long-range weather. Atmospheric blocking above Greenland usually brings warmer temperatures that are favorable to Greenland ice melt.

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