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Polar storms control world weather?

PTI
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Can’t do without themA hurricane-like storm developing in Saturn’s south pole.PHOTO: aFP
Can’t do without themA hurricane-like storm developing in Saturn’s south pole.PHOTO: aFP

Violent polar storms — the most vicious weather systems on the Earth — help control the world’s weather, a new study has found.

These mini-hurricanes occur in the Arctic winter, when freezing air flows out of the region and over the warmer Atlantic Ocean. As the Arctic warms in the coming decades, there are expected to be fewer of them.

However, without the storms, the rest of the world could face weather disruption. They are vital to the global thermohaline (movement of seawater based on temperature variations) circulation in the ocean, which underpins ocean currents and weather systems, according to Alan Condron from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Ian Renfrew from University of East Anglia UK.

The thermohaline circulation starts in the far north of the Atlantic with the rapid sinking of dense, saline water, ‘New Scientist’ reported. Condron and Renfrew’s modelling shows that polar storms often initiate this by stirring up the water column. Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University in New Jersey says low-pressure systems that form along the path of the Gulf Stream are likely to push further north as the world warms.PTI


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