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Quasi-biennial oscillation

Unprecedented atmospheric behaviour disrupts one of Earth's most regular climate cycles

The normal flow of air high up in the atmosphere over the equator, known as the quasi-biennial oscillation, was seen to break down earlier this year. These stratospheric winds are found high above the tropics, and their direction and strength changes in a regular two to three-year cycle, which provides forecasters with an indication of the weather to expect in northern Europe. Westerly winds are known to increase the chance of warm and wet conditions, while easterlies bring drier and colder weather.
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