Jet stream moved northwards 270 miles in 22 years; climate change to blame?

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:11 PM GMT on June 05, 2008

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Climate change is forcing the jet stream higher and closer to the pole in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, according research published this April in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. In their paper, "Historical trends in the jet streams", researchers Cristina Archer and Ken Caldeira of Stanford's Carnegie Institution of Washington analyzed data from 1979-2001, and found that the Northern Hemisphere jet stream moved northward at approximately 125 miles per decade (270 miles during the 22-year period of the study). The jet moved higher by 5-23 meters during this period, and the wind speeds decreased by about 1 mph. Archer and Caldeira's study confirms other research showing a poleward movement of the jet stream in recent decades (Fu et al., 2006; Hu and Fu, 2007). All of these changes are consistent with the behavior of the jet stream predicted by global warming theory. For example, Lorenz and DeWeaver (2007) found poleward shifts of the jet stream by 2100 in the forecasts of 15 climate models used to formulate the "official" word on climate, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report. However, the authors were careful not to say how much of this shift in the jet stream was due to natural causes versus human-caused climate change. It is unknown if the jet stream has natural decades-long changes in its path that could account for the observed poleward shift.


Figure 1. The jet stream is located where the strongest winds at the top of the troposphere are found (35,000-45,000 feet high, 200-300 mb in pressure).

Archer and Caldeira note that "These changes in jet stream latitude, altitude, and strength have likely affected, and perhaps will continue to affect, the formation and evolution of storms in the mid-latitudes and of hurricanes in the sub-tropical regions." They don't specify what these changes might be. There is very little research that has been done suggesting how changes in the jet stream might affect hurricane formation and strength. One effect we may begin to see in coming decades is a reduction and/or delay in the number of hurricanes that recurve northward out to sea. Recurvature occurs when a hurricane begins to "feel" the westerly winds of the jet stream. As the jet stream continues to move northward and weaken as the globe warms, we can expect that hurricanes moving though the Caribbean will be less likely to recurve, resulting in more hurricane strikes in Mexico and Central America. Unfortunately, the quality of the Atlantic hurricane database for non-U.S. landfalls is not very good, and it will be several decades before we will be able to tell if the number of hurricane landfalls in Mexico and Central America is increasing due to a poleward shift in the jet stream.

References
Fu, Q., C. M. Johanson, J. M. Wallace, and T. Reichler (2006), Enhanced mid-latitude tropospheric warming in satellite measurements, Science, 312, 1179, doi:10.1126/science.1125566.

Hu, Y., and Q. Fu (2007), Observed poleward expansion of the Hadley circulation since 1979, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., 7, 9367.9384.

Lorenz, D. J., and E. T. DeWeaver (2007), Tropopause height and zonal wind response to global warming in the IPCC scenario integrations, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D10119, doi:10.1029/2006JD008087.

Jeff Masters

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1214. moonlightcowboy
1:11 PM CDT on June 08, 2008
Photobucket

Still slightly cooler water in the scATL.
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1213. Skyepony (Mod)
6:08 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Surfmom~ enjoy that rain. Mine were stressing this morning. The wild animals get in their water bucket when it's this dry in the night & do unspeakable things in there. Wolk up to mad thirsty ponys again.
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1212. SLU
6:05 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1201. stoormfury 5:45 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
SLU
WE must make time to meet each other and to discuss met. i will email you soon


No problem!
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1211. surfmom
5:54 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
hi skyepony, getting some drizzle here! Thank goodness. The polo club grounds and barns are quite dry - afraid to even look at hay --seems like everything could go poof. Been hosing horses everyday (even my days off) since it's been so hot and the water hole has dried up. My boss turns them out at the end of season - so no cool barns or fans for my crew (kinda pisses me off - cause he doesn't want to pay for stall cleaning & bedding in the summer) If we get the PM showers, it cools everything off and they don't stress from heat - but it's been a few years since we've had that. Ahh yes here comes the rain! I am jumping out for a few!
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1210. Skyepony (Mod)
5:53 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
rainyeyes that's an Upper Level Low been out there a few days now. Should hit SFL in a few days & up the chance of rain alittle.
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1209. moonlightcowboy
12:46 PM CDT on June 08, 2008
Photobucket
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1208. surfmom
5:50 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
well, I don't think it will be much. but any rain will be gratefully appreciated. Hope it continues to build in the east and head over head out to sea.
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1207. Buhdog
5:50 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
That is an Upper level Low...headed toward florida
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1206. RainyEyes
1:48 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
There is a spin, looking at the loop, sitting right off of the southeast coast of florida over the bahama's. It looks to be pulling some rain bans together is a circular motion...does anyone else see that?
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1205. surfmom
5:46 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
I do NOT believe it!!!!!! the last thing I expected was ....RAIN; maybe group think works, b I have thunder and it looks like I am going to get some rain - To those who sent rain. thank you!! Now I just have to check the map and see if it goes past I75 so I don't have to drive out to the barn
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1204. stoormfury
5:45 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
456
sorry i really meant the catl wave
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1203. earthlydragonfly
1:48 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
it is just west of Bermuda
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1202. earthlydragonfly
1:47 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Afternoon everyone!

I need someone to explain something to me??? I am looking at the Water Vapor Loop and see a huge ULL or High in the north central atlantic, that is moving towards the equator at a very high velocity. I mean WOW speed... Any insight??
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1201. stoormfury
5:42 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
SLU
WE must make time to meet each other and to discuss met. i will email you soon
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1200. SLU
5:35 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1192. stoormfury 5:03 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
SLU
i still live in St Lucia, i reside in Bonne Terre G/Islet


That's good.
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1199. RainyEyes
5:31 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Good Morning All...it has seemed that the "rainy" season has begun a little early on the gulf coast of Southern Florida...we are certainly still negative in rainfall, but I think that is a good sign...no? I don't want to see a devastating hurricane like Katrina, but a nice wet hurricane would be good for both the Florida Economy and the dry conditions.
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1198. Stormchaser2007
1:20 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Looks good....although its to close to land.

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1197. Weather456
1:19 PM AST on June 08, 2008
Here's some info on tropical waves
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1196. Weather456
1:10 PM AST on June 08, 2008
1193. stoormfury 1:07 PM AST on June 08, 2008
456
what are your thoughts on this eastern atl wave? loks quite impressive


I dont see any wave in the EATL but I do see one in the Central Atl. There is clear cyclonic turning evident along the axis near 5.7N/44.2W but I've seen more impressive tropical waves. No development expected due to unfavorable winds to north and west.

1194. weatherblog 1:07 PM AST on June 08, 2008
1191- W456, should that be monitered for subtropical development?


It absorbes into a larger low pressure system in 48-72 hrs time. For some reason the SSD has development potential quite high for an area near 36N. An area just to watch, but not expecting much.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1195. Stormchaser2007
1:09 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Fury....Its not an African wave...Its at 36n.
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1194. weatherblog
5:07 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1191- W456, should that be monitered for subtropical development?
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1193. stoormfury
5:05 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
456
what are your thoughts on this eastern atl wave? loks quite impressive
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1192. stoormfury
4:13 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
SLU
i still live in St Lucia, i reside in Bonne Terre G/Islet
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1191. Weather456
12:44 PM AST on June 08, 2008
Latitude= 36.10° N Longitude= 44.03° W

Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
1190. Midweststorm
4:45 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1157 Surfmom

We keep trying to get the rain to go away best as we can lol
You all can have our rain in midwest. most of us are sick of it, we get a day or 2 break and back to nasty weather! Cant even fish on the rivers because to many of them keep flooding (unless I feel like driving 100 miles for a fishing trip to find a non flooding river lol) Its been a bit above normal to have rain this often so far. We are several inches ahead of the average already.
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1189. WhereIsTheStorm
4:42 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
BBL - Need to put on a hat and do a couple of things outside. Everyone have a good afternoon.
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1187. hurricane23
12:35 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Good afternoon!

Just wanted to post a quick update on ENSO.

Based on current atmospheric and oceanic conditions and recent trends, a transition from La Nina to ENSO-neutral conditions is expected during June-July 2008.

Complete Update Here
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1186. WhereIsTheStorm
4:16 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1163. stormlvr 2:25 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1131. flibinite 8:43 AM GMT on June 08, 2008

We have come a long way in this field. I can remember when we did all manual analysis and worked an entire shift just to issue a good 24-48 hour forecast. You can access more information on the internet in 10 minutes than we ever had. I will concede that most modeling has been developed fairly recently and may not properly account for certain parameters particularly changing oceanic circulations and temperature profiles. There are also variables and interactions of variables that are not completely understood or are even unknown at this point. Have hope, we will continue to progress. Just watching some of the bright young minds on this blog makes me sure of that. The biggest danger is kneejerk reactions to phenomena that is not completely understood.


The models have come a long way; but they still don't have enough data for any long range projections and they often show possible development when nothing happens. I will admit that in the last 5 to 10 years there has been a large accumulation of data collected; but weather is based on 50 to 100 year patterns. The older manual methods of projecting storms will need to be continued and compared to what the models are producing to give us a better estimate of what may happen as far as the course of the storm is concerned. I believe what the models produce about 8 hrs out, after that there are too many variables and the models have been not been as accurate. They are better than ever and will continue to get better as more data is collected over the years. As for intensity of a storm, this is an unknown and in most cases an educated guess from the experts. Just my opinion.
I agree with you, there are some great young minds out there including some on this blog and many have been learning from the vast experience of others that post here, just look at the questions that are being asked. Based on the responses, some of our bloggers should be teaching this stuff in class as they have a lot of patience. You all know who I am talking about.
Back to the weather, hot here in Hollywood, FL we are expecting some showers this afternoon. This would be great for the plants.
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1185. surfmom
4:12 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
no wonder I feel loco - I had a brief shower two days ago, I just want two days of a steady downpour, I am not suppose to work today, but with this heat I feel obligated to go out east and hose the horses down - maybe if we do group think and a rain dance we can be more then wishcasters and be rainmakers!
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1183. stoormfury
4:06 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
nice low amplitude tropical wave with good signature and looks to be carrying a mid level low near 7n 40w, low shear is causing some convection, but the way to the west is very hostile with westerly shear ,that this wave have little chance of organisation
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1182. tampaENG
4:05 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Good Morning Everyone. Not a rain Drop in site for me here. My Back yard is a tinder box. I am afraid to mow it.

Here as well. In my area in Flordia no rain for 63 days now.
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1181. surfmom
3:53 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Back from yardwork - No, I do not know why,the tree is so bountiful this year and we're rather curious, I am thinking a more mild winter, with a lack of strong "el norte" winds when the tree was in blossom/ the winds did not knock off the blossoms or infant fruit (having mangos above Ft. Myer's tends to be a hit & miss game, as Sarasota is on the tropic line)I live 1 mile from the key on the mainland, so I have a better chance of good fruit, if I lived more east (east I75) then the winter winds would probably kill the tree.

The last time she did this well (perhaps coincidence) was '04 & 05 - primarily '04, that raises my eyebrow - at the end of season we'll see if a bountiful crop predicts a busy season (of course this will take years of observation - before it could be a conclusion, but I plan to be here a while.
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1180. Drakoen
3:46 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
The monsoon trough has come up some.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 29919
1179. SLU
3:39 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1171. stoormfury 3:03 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
hi SLU
Nice to see ya back although you did post on the 1st june 2008 the start of the season. i know you are from st lucia what part, i too am lucian


Really? I'm in Castries. Which part are you from? Are you living in St. Lucia now?
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1178. HIEXPRESS
11:39 AM EDT on June 08, 2008
Florida KBDI (Drought Index) 4km resolution from DOF

Please be careful with your fires - it's crispy out there.
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
1177. BahaHurican
11:34 AM EDT on June 08, 2008
Interestingly, the cloud cover here is still broken - it's pouring rain just to the west of my house, raining lightly here, and blue sky is showing clearly off to the east.

LOL I don't think I'd be paying this much interest to a rain shower if we'd had our usual afternoon squall linup in place . ..
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21537
1176. BahaHurican
11:29 AM EDT on June 08, 2008
Wow! Thunder, too! That's the first is quite a while here . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21537
1175. BahaHurican
11:25 AM EDT on June 08, 2008
Well, I was totally wrong about the rain . . .LOL

We've had two heavy rounds of rain so far - I'd go so far as to call them "tropical downpours" :o)

How much would an area of warm shallow water affect the amount of moisture a ULL produces?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 21537
1174. rainraingoaway
9:12 AM CST on June 08, 2008
Good morning all. Interesting comments as usual in here today. Do a rain dance for us in Texas as I dance away for some of you others as well!
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1173. hahaguy
11:15 AM EDT on June 08, 2008
I see that the ITCZ moved a little more northward.
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1171. stoormfury
3:00 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
hi SLU
Nice to see ya back although you did post on the 1st june 20008 the start of the season. i know you are from st lucia what part, i too am lucian
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1170. pearlandaggie
2:55 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1169. i don't know if that's a good assumption...with WiFi and all! LOL
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1169. Baybuddy
2:48 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Since we are all on the internet, I suppose it is safe to assume that none of us live in a cave....right? Lets stop with the "Breaking News" on the gas prices already.

It is pointless, depressing and has nothing to do with the weather.
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1168. SLU
2:24 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
i have a gut feeling that 2008 could be an extraordinary year where increase activity will be the order of the day.

We get that gut feeling every year stoormfury. Most times it comes true, sometimes it doesn't as in 1997, 2002 and 2006.
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1167. pearlandaggie
2:28 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1166. i was just wondering if anyone else is expected more severe thunderboomers today. it will be the same here today as it has been...hot, dry, humid, and unusually windy!
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1166. BajaALemt
9:24 AM CDT on June 08, 2008
Also, if you're interested in tracking severe weather, www.severestudios.com is a really great site to do this (and to learn in..If you have GRL2/3 with the Spotter Network placefile, you can SEE what you're looking at on radar via the guys' chase cams if they're up). I notice that there are also quite a few folks that aren't weather buffs in there looking for info about their area. Great site.

Edit: They have a chatroom and the guys out chasing chat there while they're out...and are very helpful with answering questions.
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1165. pearlandaggie
2:23 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
1161. thanks!

yikes! looks like more rough weather ahead for the same folks.
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
1164. caymanjaroo
2:24 PM GMT on June 08, 2008
Thunder in the distance....maybe some rain in Cayman today.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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