The North Atlantic Oscillation and the latitude of the Gulf Stream

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Taylor, Arnold H. ; Stephens, John A. (2011)

The physical processes determining the path of the Gulf Stream as it leaves the continentalshelf of the USA are complex and involved. Understanding these processes is important toglobal climate studies because the Gulf Stream plays a major rôle in the distribution of heatin the northern hemisphere. Here we show that during the last 3 decades, the latitude of theGulf Stream has been clearly correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO); high valuesof the NAO index, which correspond to stronger westerly and trade winds, favouring morenortherly paths of the Stream about 2 years later. The time-delay may be associated with theadjustment time of this part of the ocean circulation. If allowance is made for persistence ofthe Gulf Stream position from one year to the next, more than half the interannual variationin the position can be predicted.DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0870.1998.00010.x
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