In a column on Tuesday, environmental blogger Robert Scribbler noted that the Northern Hemisphere Jet Stream had merged with the Southern Hemisphere Jet Stream.If you watch the accompanying video, you will be struck by the interconnectedness of climate systems. Changes in those system thanks to climate change threaten to become catastrophic.
“It’s the very picture of weather weirding due to climate change. Something that would absolutely not happen in a normal world,” he wrote. “Something, that if it continues, basically threatens seasonal integrity.”
“Historically, the Tropics — which produce the tallest and thickest air mass in the world — have served as a mostly impenetrable barrier to upper level winds moving from one Hemisphere to another. But as the Poles have warmed due to human-forced climate change, the Hemispherical Jet Streams have moved out of the Middle Latitudes more and more. ”
“That’s bad news for seasonality,” he continued. “You get this weather-destabilizing and extreme weather generating mixing of seasons that is all part of a very difficult to deal with ‘Death of Winter’ type scenario.”
In the following YouTube video, Beckwith says
that the jet stream behavior signaled “massive hits to the food supply” and “massive geopolitical unrest.”
UPDATE: Thanks to the dogged determination of The Mound to find out more about the above-described situation, I am happy (though a bit chastened) to report that the dire news presented above is based on poor science. The Washington Post offers this rebuttal:
The claims are unsupported and unscientific, and they demonstrate the danger of wild assertions made by non-experts reaching and misleading the masses.The Post reporter
reached out to several atmospheric scientists, who have graduate degrees and are trusted sources in the profession, for their reaction to these claims. Without exception, they said air flow between the hemispheres is not at all uncommon.My apologies for so readily accepting Beckworth's claims. It was an obvious failure in critical thinking.
“This is total nonsense,” said Cliff Mass, a professor of meteorology at the University of Washington. “Flow often crosses the equator.”
Mass added that the cross-equator flow identified by Scribbler and Beckwith is not between mid-latitude jet streams, as claimed. “The analysis is making mistakes that even one of my junior undergrads would not make,” Mass said.
Ryan Maue, a senior meteorologist with a doctoral degree who works at WeatherBell Analytics, agreed with Mass that the cross-equator flow is totally normal and not evidence of a joint hemispheric jet stream. “Cross-equatorial flow at both upper and lower levels is part of the seasonal transition of the Western Pacific monsoon through boreal summer,” he said.
“Sometimes the flows connect up with each other and make it look like a larger flow structure is causing the jet stream to flow from one hemisphere to the other, but it’s in no way unprecedented,” Roy Spencer, a professor of atmospheric science at University of Alabama-Huntsville, explained on his blog.