Skeptical Science contributor John Mason has outdone himself this time - which says a lot after his great pieces on Arctic methane and other subjects - by writing a comprehensive article about the jet stream, what it is, what it does and why that is important. Here's the introduction and table of contents, but I'd advise everyone to go read the whole thing over at Skeptical Science:
A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream:
what it is, how it works and how it is responding to enhanced Arctic warming
Posted on 22 May 2013 by John Mason
Barely a week goes by these days in the Northern Hemisphere without the jet stream being mentioned in the news, but rarely do such news items explain in detail what it is and why it is important. As a severe weather photographer this past 10+ years, an activity which requires successful DIY forecasting, I've had to develop an appreciation into what makes it tick. This post, then, is a start-from-scratch primer based on that knowledge plus some valuable assistance from academia into where the current research is heading. Because of its length and breadth of coverage, I've broken it up into bookmarked sections for easy reference: to come back here click on 'back to contents' in each instance.