The climate of the Atlantic sector exhibits considerable variability on a wide range of time scales. A substantial portion is associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a hemispheric meridional oscillation in atmospheric mass with centers of action near Iceland and over the subtropical Atlantic. NAO-related impacts on winter climate extend from Florida to Greenland and from northwestern Africa over Europe far into northern Asia. Over the last 3 decades, the phase of the NAO has been shifting from mostly negative to mostly positive index values. Much remains to be learned about the mechanisms that produce such low frequency changes in the North Atlantic climate, but it seems increasingly likely that human activities are playing a significant role.
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