Sea-Driven Weather

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.15e

Better prediction of devastating climate events, like the 2003 European heat wave, is a high priority of long-range weather forecasters. Sutton and Hodson (p. 115; see the news story by Kerr) have explored how weather depends on slowly varying environmental properties, such as basin-wide sea surface temperatures. Focusing on North America and Europe, they used a global climate model that incorporated historical records of Atlantic Ocean sea surface temperature and land-based data for pressure, precipitation, and air temperature. Ocean temperature distributions, possibly related to thermohaline circulation, have had an important influence on summertime climates on both continents and may have also influenced rainfall and drought frequency there.

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