Science Lesson

Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Generalised model of thermohaline circulation, adapted from NASA.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a system of currents in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf Stream that circulates a vast amount of heat from the tropics towards the North Pole disseminating the cold, saline, dense waters towards the Tropics and even further south towards the South Pole. The figure above captures that in a generalised worldwide model of thermohaline (thermo- referring to temperature and –haline referring to salt content) circulation.

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) in the Southern Hemisphere, are a spectacular natural phenomenon. They light up a night sky, dancing around in fantastic colours. There are few places in the Northern Hemisphere where you can see them, but they can be elusive if you are really unlucky. Here we explain the science behind the Northern Lights and share few tips on how to maximise your chances of witnessing this wonderful spectacle. 

Sting Jet: What is a 'sting jet'?

The sting jet sits on the south side of the hooked area of cloud, resembling a scorpion’s tail, which wraps around a low pressure centre.

On 27th and 28th October 2013 severe storm St Jude hit north-western Europe causing at least 17 deaths. It has been mentioned in media that there was probably phenomenon called ‘sting jet’ associated with St Jude. But what is a ‘sting jet’?

Jetstreams

Jetstreams are discontinuous, narrow currents of strong winds in the upper atmosphere. The polar jetstream is of special interest to meteorologists because of its association with the regions where warm and cold air masses meet, and weather systems develop bringing wind and rain.

Pollen levels and weather: Why hay fever suffers need to keep an eye on the weather

Over 10 million people in the UK suffer from hay fever and the arrival of warm, dry weather during the spring marks the start of increased pollen levels that can continue through into autumn. The tree pollen season runs until mid-May, followed by grass pollen until late July and weed pollen until the end September. An allergy to grass pollen is most common, affecting about 95% of sufferers.

Cold Rush: Arctic ice caps, hidden mineral reserves and a 21st century gold rush

As the world warms and the Arctic's ice caps melt, the region's hidden oil, gas and mineral reserves are slowly being opened up for exploration, causing international rivals to begin jockeying for position. Viel Richardson examines the causes and consequences of a 21st century gold rush