Are the wildfires causing a buckle in the jet stream?

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Dear Tom,

In your experience, do you think the California wildfires are causing a buckle in the jet stream that is causing the difference in our weather?

Steve Parker,

Dear Steve,
No, I do not. I think it’s the other way around. The buckling jet stream is a product of abnormally warm temperatures over the western portion of the country.

The jet stream is sending storm systems that would normally bring rains to California at this time of year up toward Alaska, rather than onto the West Coast of the lower 48. This current abnormal jet stream pattern, and other abnormal jet stream situations, is the result of unusual temperature distributions on a planet that is undergoing warming.

I believe this is at the heart of a number of planetary weather extremes that we are beginning to see with increasing frequency.


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