What happens in the Arctic does NOT stay in the Arctic

Summit County Citizens Voice

Ocean currents originating near the poles drives tropical rainfall

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Rainfall amounts in the tropics may be influenced by ocean currents originating thousands of miles away, in polar regions, according to an international team of climate scientists trying to track down how global warming might affect precipitation in different regions.

Most tropical rains fall in the northern hemisphere — Palmyra Atoll, at 6 degrees north, gets 175 inches of rain a year, while comparable locations at similar latitudes south of the equator only get 45 inches annually.

Scientists have long thought that this was due to a quirk in the Earth’s geometry — with the spin of the Earth pushing tropical rain bands north across diagonally tilted ocean basins. But the study, led by University of Washington researchers suggests the pattern is driven by ocean currents originating from the poles, thousands of miles away.

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