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Jet Stream Roundup

June 30, 2006

Red-eye flights are hard on your system, and they may also be hard on the envirnoment.


Is the jet stream on the move? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The jet streams are high-flying wind currents that move weather patterns across the globe. A report in Science magazine from researchers in the US and China suggests the jet streams in both the northern and southern hemispheres are steadily shifting toward the Poles. They report that over the past twenty-six years, the jet streams have shifted about a degree—nearly 80 miles. The jet streams are important in determining rainfall of the land below them.

In other climate news, British researchers report in the journal Nature that contrails, or vapor trails, from airplanes cause much more global warming on winter nights than at other times. The contrails act like blankets, preventing heat from escaping. They conclude that reducing night flights, especially in winter, could substantially reduce the impact of aviation on climate.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.