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September 21, 2020

Can a weather system in East Asia help predict hurricane frequency in the U.S.?

With funding from the National Science Foundation, researchers at the University of Iowa and Princeton University have identified a connection between a climate system in East Asia and the frequency of tropical storms that develop in the Atlantic Ocean--which can strengthen into hurricanes that threaten the U.S.

Credit: National Science Foundation/Karson Productions

Streaming influencer.

I'm Bob Karson with the Discovery Files, from the National Science Foundation.

(Sound effect: hurricane winds) Atlantic hurricane season. August thru November, folks along the coast stay prepared and hope for a lean season -- fewer, and weaker storms. Researchers at the University of Iowa and Princeton U have found a link between the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes and a weather system thousands of miles away.

The scientists studied data from nearly 40 years of Atlantic hurricanes and they didn't just blow through it cut to East Asia. The East Asian Subtropical Jet Stream flows like a river across the Pacific, over our northern border with Canada, and down into the part of the Atlantic where hurricanes usually form.

This jet stream carries with it what are known as Rossby Waves (ROSS-bee) that affect wind shear. Seems when the jet stream is stronger, it leads to stronger wind shear in the North Atlantic. And stronger wind shear can reduce the number of storms that develop into hurricanes. Earlier the team had found a connection between the same jet stream and storms affecting the Western U.S.

The team says we can't yet predict tropical storm and hurricane formation based on this jet stream -- at least not until we get more of a handle on how predictable it is.

File this under "East Asian Stormation Formation (Prognostication)."

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