This four minute video explains how resonance between free and forced Rossby waves generates devastating heat waves and floods. Rossby waves are wiggles in the jet stream.

You wouldn't think that the high altitude Jet Stream [image source] would notice mountains. It's complicated.

Nonlinear interactions such as this resonance create disproportionate extreme weather. The synoptic waves described are about a thousand kilometers wide, with 6 to 8 waves encircling the Northern Hemisphere. High pressure systems travel under the crests and low pressure centers travel above the troughs.

"High amplitude quasi-stationery synoptic Rossby waves that persist for weeks cause extreme weather."

There are two types of Rossby waves. Free waves are unaffected by topology. Forced waves tend to be stationery as they respond to mountain ranges and ocean/land temperature gradients. "The forced Rossby wave is characterized by a stationary phase, with a trough appearing immediately downstream of the topography". (quote from complicated version)

When both kinds have the same number of waves encircling the globe, "The forced wave can resonate with the stationery components of the free wave. This greatly magnifies the amplitude." Higher amplitude waves travel more slowly, just as a river through its wavy delta moves slower than the same river in a straight channel.

I found it helpful to replay this video several times, to really grasp what's happening.

If you live on the west coast of North America, the Pacific Ocean/land gradient and the Rockies force Rossby waves to get stuck (quasi-stationery), and resonate with free Rossby waves. This is how Alaska gets February wildfires and California dries out.

For those in the US East Coast like me, the Labrador Sea + Baffin Bay/Greenland temperature gradient forces blocking,  which sucks warmth there, while pulling Arctic air my way. At least that's my understanding. Plus Rossby wave amplitude is deep since the Arctic/Tropics temperature gradient isn't as strong.

image source

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Replies to This Discussion

Just like so many things, all systems are connected. The butterfly effect proves to be true in weather as well as diet, and attitudes, and beliefs. It matters what one thinks and how one acts and we had better get used to it. 

Right now, we observe the gyrations taking place in the religious community as they attempt to counter the impacts of people who do not buy into their attitudes, beliefs, customs, traditions and values. As believers feel threatened they act out of fear, that shows up as anger and foolish behaviors. 

As with climate change, so too with reactionary religious, it is our job to remain calm, pay attention to events, attempt to find patterns so that we can better prepare for the unknown. One helpful tool is the mind-map. 

Some know and know that they know; 

Some know and don't know that they know; 

Some don't know and know that they don't know; 

Some don't know and don't know that they don't know. 

and Know

and Don’t Know

that they Know

that they Don’t Know

Some Know

x

x

Some Know

x

x

Some Don’t Know 

x

x

Some Don’t Know 

x

x

Interesting, including Joan's comment.

Dramatic change in Alaska's average temperatures over the past few years are likely caused by Rossby wave resonance. If normal Alaska temperature is divided into three parts, each is a tercile.

image source

tercile: Any of the two points that divide an ordered distribution into three parts, each containing a third of the population.

source

The Potsdam Institute published a much easier to understand video about Rossby wave resonance.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-global-air-...

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