PerspectiveCLIMATE VARIABILITY

Nota Bene: The North Atlantic Oscillation

Science  12 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5404, pp. 948-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5404.948

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Summary

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a climate phenomena characterized by a north-south difference in atmospheric pressure, between a low pressure region near Iceland and a high pressure region near the Azores. Interannual and decadal variability in the NAO affects the climate of North America, Europe, and North Africa, but the mechanism leading to this oscillation remains not well understood. Early instrumental and geological records are used to reconstruct an NAO record extending back into the past. Together with enhanced monitoring efforts, these studies should help to shed more light on the NAO, and may even allow prediction of its phases on annual and longer time scales.

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