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Natural Climate Patterns

  • Over the span of days or weeks, the strength of surface air pressure over the North Atlantic seesaws between Iceland and the Azores Islands. The shifting pressure reflects changes in atmospheric circulation that have a big impact on mid-latitude weather in the U.S. and Europe. 

  • The Oceanic Nino Index tracks the sea surface temperature in the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean. It is NOAA's primary indicator of the climate patterns known as El Niño and La Niña. 

  • The Arctic Oscillation (AO) refers to an atmospheric circulation pattern over the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. The most obvious reflection of the phase of this oscillation is the north-to-south location of the storm-steering, mid-latitude jet stream.

  • The Southern Oscillation Index tracks differences in air pressure between the eastern and western sides of the tropical Pacific.

  • The Pacific-North American teleconnection pattern influences regional weather by affecting the strength and location of the East Asian jet stream, and subsequently, the weather it delivers to North America.

  • For years, people have been pointing to El Niño as the culprit behind floods, droughts, famines, economic failures, and record-breaking global heat. Can a single climate phenomenon really cause all these events? Is the world just a step away from disaster when El Niño conditions develop?

  • Has global warming stopped? That's what some people claim, based on global temperatures recorded since 1998. But, scientists say, not setting a new record high temperature each year doesn't mean the globe is cooling.

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