The Charlotte Observer reports:
The jet stream – the river of air high above Earth that generally dictates the weather – usually rushes rapidly from west to east in a mostly straight direction.
But lately it seems to be wobbling and weaving like a drunken driver, wreaking havoc as it goes.
The more the jet stream undulates north and south, the more changeable and extreme the weather.
The most recent example occurred in mid-June when some towns in Alaska hit record highs. McGrath, Alaska, recorded an all-time high of 94 degrees on June 17. A few weeks earlier, the same spot was 15 degrees, the coldest recorded for so late in the year.
You can blame the heat wave on a large northward bulge in the jet stream, Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis said.
Several scientists are blaming weather whiplash – both high and low extremes – on a jet stream that’s not quite playing by its old rules. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that experts are still trying to understand.
Some say it’s related to global warming, but others say it’s not.