How the Climate System Works

Temperature extremes have been pretty unusual across the United States so far in 2014. Looking back over this time period quickly reveals at least part of what was going on: the polar jet stream got into a serious rut.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

  •  The Sun is the main source of power for the Earth's climate machine. Space-based measurements, begun in 1978, indicate Earth receives an average of 1,361 W/m<sup>2</sup> of incoming sunlight, and the amount varies by about one-tenth of a percent over the course of the 11-year solar cycle. 

  • The Pacific-North American teleconnection pattern influences regional weather by affecting the strength and location of the East Asian jet stream, and subsequently, the weather it delivers to North America.