The Weather/Climate Kitchen

The Arctic plays a crucial role in our temperate climate in Europe, creating ideal conditions for diverse flora and fauna. This stability is influenced by the polar jet stream, a wind current that originates in the Arctic. At high altitudes, the jet stream can blow at speeds of 200-500 km/h. Aircraft often use this air current to shorten travel times (from west to east). The jet stream is maintained by the temperature difference between the Arctic and the temperate latitudes, forming a band around the Arctic known as the Polar Front. This band acts as a barrier for the climate, keeping the cold air (from the north) in the north and maintaining moderate temperatures in our region. It also contributes to the formation of low and high-pressure systems.

The jet stream behaves like the spinning top. However, the warming of the Arctic reduces the temperature difference, causing the jet stream to slow down. As a result, extreme weather conditions in our temperate latitudes become more frequent. Hot air from the subtropics reaches us, leading to longer and hotter heatwaves, such as in 2019, which marked the third hottest summer in German history. Conversely, cold air from the Arctic can also reach us, causing sudden cold spells. These weather changes have dramatic effects on plant and animal life, as well as on us humans.