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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964. chessrascal
2:11 PM EDT on June 07, 2008
Africa is starting to get more activity:

963. pottery
1:58 PM AST on June 07, 2008
Sounds a bit like Trinidad. The last time we had a Trop. Storm approaching, the Met. Official on the radio advised people not to panic, but to " fix yourself to a permanent object".
It would be hilarious, if it was not so dam sad...
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24789
962. condesa
6:03 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Mexico has the 14th largest economy in the world, is a major partner with US and is the home of the GOM; third in terms of overall biodiversity,etc.,how is it possible that there is not even a national NEWS broadcast on the week-ends, much less weather info other than forecasts that are posted every 6-12 hours on the Weather Service site?
I don't get it.
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961. condesa
5:51 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Hi pottery-

Uh huh, it's not looking to good; what's concerning me right now is the lack of information available, before and after.
Seems like the Weather Channel should open a Mexico/Central America branch, or something like that. Then we could figure out how to pay another 30-40 dollars a month to get it on cable, I guess.
We need a truly functional weather blog here, for the S,SE,SW, at least.

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960. pottery
1:44 PM AST on June 07, 2008
Sounds like you had a pretty rough time in areas of Mexico, Condesa.
There is still a lot of energy in that area too, so keep safe.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24789
959. condesa
5:19 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Mornin-
Just want to thank all who helped me out last night with updates and maps, especially TampaSpin,Patrap, Taz; hope I didn't leave anybody out
They've forecast another round for tonight-
I still can't access many links or open pages, so thank you all. I can read text and see some of what is posted here.
Lots of flooding, road/highways washed out, communities cut-off in Chiapas; I imagine Oaxaca is bad, too. Veracruz has flooding; some problems in Tamaulipas.
Ports are re-opened, which is good for you all- they send a few million barrels of oil to Gulf everyday.
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958. 7544
5:17 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
the ull is getting a nice shape to it looks better than yesterday is it trying to work its way down to the surface at this point .
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957. Nolehead
4:58 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
beach's in the panhandle...i wouldn't suggest it...jelly fish are as bad as ever!! GOM is a sauna...
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956. StormJunkie
5:01 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Would love to if I did not have to work! Arghh...
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
955. presslord
12:57 PM EDT on June 07, 2008
sj...let's go to the beach...I'll come get you....we'll both get wet.....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
954. StormJunkie
4:56 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Morning all!

Thanks press, but you only guaranteed it right where you're Wrangler is parked!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16874
953. presslord
12:50 PM EDT on June 07, 2008
I just took the top off my Wrangler, thus guaranteeing rain in the Lowcountry within the day...I don't care what the forecast is....bet on it....
Member Since: August 13, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10492
952. Orcasystems
4:48 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Atlantic Graphical TWO Area 1 closeup
Click to unzoom Return to Atlantic Graphical TWO

1. SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS OVER THE WINDWARD ISLANDS AND ADJACENT
WATERS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A WESTWARD-MOVING TROPICAL WAVE.
UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN UNFAVORABLE FOR TROPICAL
CYCLONE DEVELOPMENT.
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951. IKE
11:34 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
I got lucky yesterday here in the Florida panhandle....got 1.93 inches of rain.
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950. Weather456
12:32 PM AST on June 07, 2008
Watching the upper level low move westward is sort of like looking at Hurricane Frances back in 2004.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
949. franck
4:10 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
cchs...believe it when I feel it on my face. By the way, that graphic doesn't show much moisture for SE. Glad you're optimistic though.
Characteristic of youth.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
948. DocBen
4:04 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
CCH - and southeasterners - you can have some of my rain! Kansas and the rest of the plains have had far too much the last few weeks.

I get the feeling that the jet shift is changing patterns which is NOT a good thing.
Member Since: May 16, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 98
947. cchsweatherman
12:01 PM EDT on June 07, 2008

Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
946. cchsweatherman
11:52 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
12UTC NAM 60 Hours
Shows some good news for the entire Southeast as it appears tropical moisture will move into the region by Tuesday.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
945. Patrap
10:40 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
Conditions at Buoy 42002 as of
(9:50 am CDT)
1450 GMT on 06/07/2008: Link
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944. Patrap
10:39 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
NEXRAD Radar
Brownsville, Base Reflectivity 0.50 Degree Elevation Range 124 NMI Link

Radar (With NEW "Smoothing" feature)
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943. help4u
3:38 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Happy global warming day everyone!
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942. STORMTTOP
3:30 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Looks like the high in South Texas has Broken Down quiet a Bit. So much for those who said it wasn't going to for a long time. Oh Look .. Arthurs remains/moisture are coming up into Texas .. and thye are getting rain. Who would have thought ...
941. all4hurricanes
3:02 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
The temperature with the humidity should make it feel like 100 today currently it feels 90
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940. forecastFlyer
9:58 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
It's thundering and RAINING in STX!
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939. weathermanwannabe
10:41 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
1006 AM EDT SAT JUN 7 2008

PREV DISCUSSION... /ISSUED 349 AM EDT SAT JUN 7 2008/
UPPER LOW CONTINUES TO SLOWLY TRACK WESTWARD JUST NORTH OF THE EASTERN BAHAMAS WITH BOTH THE GFS AND ECMWF SHOWING IT COMING ACROSS S FLA ON SUNDAY. WHILE THE GFS HAS THIS
OCCURRING, IT STILL GIVES LOW POPS WITH THE DEEP LAYER MOISTURE REMAINING TO OUR EAST UNTIL THE LOW MOVES INTO THE GOFMEX ON
MONDAY.


Guess that the latest model runs bring the low towards the GA/FL border now?.....Miami NWS (in the early am discussion) brought it accross South Florida and into the Gulf.....
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937. all4hurricanes
2:40 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
914 its 86 in VA
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936. Patrap
9:39 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
NOAA AVHRR SST
Gulf of Mexico Link
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935. Patrap
9:35 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
MODIS Truecolor Imagery Link
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934. Patrap
9:34 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
GOES-12 Atmospheric Imagery Link
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933. weathermanwannabe
10:27 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
929. hurricane23 10:22 AM EDT on June 07, 2008

That "nekkid" ULL is trying to put on some clothes on before approaching Florida; if it does get picked up towards the NE by the incoming trof, then, this is perhaps a good "dry run" (pun intended) as to some of the action we can expext to see at the peak of the CV season in terms of a similarly appraoching storm, and, waiting for a trof to move it away from the SE Conus.....From the looks of it right now (and who knows what actual conditions will exist in August/September), it kinda looks like a precursor "track" for a potential storm turned towards the Carolinas as we get into the season..............
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 9372
932. afcjags03
2:32 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
912. all4hurricanes 1:43 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
whats GW?


We in the banking world have a term for it, it's called a money scam.

rofl
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931. Weather456
10:25 AM AST on June 07, 2008
927. chessrascal 10:19 AM AST on June 07, 2008
456 what would steer this ULL north to FLA GA border?


h23, the shortwave trough does not reach FL in 60 hrs.

the upper low will be steered by a deep layer ridge, just east of North Carolina.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
930. chessrascal
10:23 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
thx 23
929. hurricane23
10:20 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
927. chessrascal 10:19 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
456 what would steer this ULL north to FLA GA border?

After bringing florida scattered thunderstorm activity the low will likely get picked up by a digging shortwave that will make it into the southeast united states in the coming days.

Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
928. rainraingoaway
8:15 AM CST on June 07, 2008
Morning, all!
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927. chessrascal
10:14 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
456 what would steer this ULL north to FLA GA border?
926. hurricane23
10:10 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
Good morning!

I see nothing within the global computer models this morning that suggest tropical development for atleast the next 5-10 days which is perfectly normal for june so get out and enjoy the great weather outside if your in southeast florida. Takecare Adrian
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13841
925. seflagamma
10:09 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
good morning everyone,

wow, it appears the NE is going to be so hot today after such a mild sping. the NE is much hotter than we are going to be today.

I see the tropics are very calm...is there anything forcasted on the models? Looks pretty dry out there to me.

hope you are all enjoying your weekend.
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924. cajunkid
9:08 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
another Saturday too windy to fish..oh well

guess I'll just have to cut the grass
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923. Weather456
9:49 AM AST on June 07, 2008
903. TampaSpin 9:17 AM AST on June 07, 2008
Hopefully that ULL keeps coming toward Florida to help enhance some rain.


The forecast calls for not much rain but SFL should get. It seems the bulk of the cloudiness stays offshore or over the Bahamas to the east of the ULL. The upper low weakens as it nears u guys.

Here's the upper low in 60 hrs near FL/GA border

Here's the cloud cover and precip associated in 60 hrs.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
922. weathers4me
2:07 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
severstorm: I agree the last frames looks to be heading a bit S of due west. Does anyone have a handle on the future steering patterns for ULL?
Member Since: May 24, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 118
921. severstorm
10:00 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
weathers4me, also looks to be building some and looks to be moving s of due west any comments
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920. leftovers
1:59 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
Here is a hypothetical question if USA, China, and India don't increase standards to prevent global warming just so the businesses can run more efficiently, who will be the winner in 100 years?

I,ll give you a hint it's not the environment.
Action: | Ignore User What is this about ?????
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919. weathers4me
1:56 PM GMT on June 07, 2008
You can really see the ULL here. Let's hope it keeps coming towards FL. to help increase rain chances.

Link
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918. severstorm
9:54 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
morning Patrap, GFSx on drugs shows rain in florida the whole time crazy wish it was true
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917. Patrap
8:54 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
GOES-12 Tropical Atlantic WV with Dry-Air Shaded,Loop Link
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916. Patrap
8:53 AM CDT on June 07, 2008
UNYSIS 10-day GFSx Link
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915. severstorm
9:53 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
GW......globle warming
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914. severstorm
9:51 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
all4, i hear your going to sizzle up that way today welcome to the club all ready 84 here in z-hills florida
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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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