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Image : The Ocean's Role in Climate

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North Atlantic Oscillation
The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When the NAO index is low, shown above, ocean winds are weaker and the U.S. winter more severe. Changes in ocean temperature distributions are also observed. Its "high index" state corresponds to particularly high atmospheric pressure over the Azores, an intense low over Iceland. Ocean winds are stronger and winters milder in the eastern U.S. (Illustration by Fritz Heide & Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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Last updated: September 9, 2014