How can Pacific Ocean SSTs affect our day-to-day weather in Arizona?
The ocean plays a large role in the atmospheric circulation pattern which determines our weather and our climate. Due to unequal heating of the equatorial regions versus the polar regions, temperature differences over land occur which need to be removed by the atmosphere. These temperature differences are typically reduced in the atmophere by the results of winds and through the generation of areas of low pressure which bring warm air northward toward the poles and send cold air southward toward the equator. Additionally, differences between land and sea temperatures can create changing weather conditions along and adjacent to coastlines. The same is true in the ocean, with El Niño/Southern Oscillation and persistent ocean currents acting as mechanisms to relieve the continually building and ebbing temperature gradients that are generated by uneven heating and cooling of the ocean. The jetstream is a fast flowing ribbon of air in the atmosphere that tends to be the primary mechanism wh