(Source: http://www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/jet_stream/index_e.html, accessed on 2006-10-12, 4:56 PM EDT)
It's fairly well-known that "...the path of the jet stream steers... storm systems at lower levels in the atmosphere...."
Coincidentally (or not) on October (not November!) 13, 2006, we got this: "'Historic' October snowstorm blasts Niagara Region". Moreover,
Environment Canada said the storm brought 'significant snowfalls of historic proportions.'Nearby, in Buffalo, NY, USA, three people are dead.
'This really does stand out as a historic event and one that will be looked at by meteorologists in a number of years to come,' said Geoff Coulson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada who specializes in warning preparedness.
'Our street looked like it was hit by a hurricane. It looks like the apocalypse. ItÂs unreal,' said [Buffalo resident] Matthew Colken, who lost power at 4 a.m. 'One hundred-year-old trees are down.' (Source: Toronto Star.)I know that these are the words of a possibly distraught disaster victim in a country where Apocalypticism (or its close relative, Millenarianism) is a known historical current. Still, I cannot help but find this quote to be, how shall we say... chilling.
Yes, it is unscientific to attribute any one weather event to global warming. Global warming deals with patters of weather events (climate), not predicting single events. Still, I cannot help but wonder: are we likely to see more Jet Stream anomalies and extreme weather (both heat and cold) if global warming continues?
By the way, in May 2006, Jet Stream shifts due to warm ocean temperatures were implicated in causing the notorious "dust bowl" of the 1930s. Here's another headline, from later in May 2006: "Report: Jet stream shift is expanding the Earth's tropics and deserts" [emphasis added]. So now we're talking about the present and future. Is the nightmare of the 1930s on its way back? Does the Harper Government care?
Memo to self: Bruce Sterling's novel, Heavy Weather, would make a nice holiday gift for Harper! (Book preview - amazon.com, local library search - worldcat.org.)
- Plot Spoiler warning... If I recall correctly, in this book, the Jet Stream gets so out of hand that it crashes down to ground level and causes unimaginable "F-6" level storms. A bit far-fetched -- or is it?