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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864. katbelle77
5:29 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Storm I love your site, been going to it for past year. The model page is a great tool.
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863. StormJunkie
5:29 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Evening kb77, welcome out of lurk!
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862. katbelle77
5:26 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Good morning guys, how is everyone? If still up? First post in 4 years, been lurking and learning. Wonderful site. Please respond if around, Thxs.
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861. condesa
5:21 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
It won't load; I'll look at it tomorrow though. Thanks for the link.
860. condesa
5:15 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Ok, thanks much! Sleep well!
859. TampaSpin
1:16 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
The Long range GFS has the moisture in Mexico for alot longer check this loop out.


LinkLink
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858. condesa
5:10 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Man, this is out of the ordinary.
All those people living down by the river bank on the other side of the gorge from me are in trouble, for sure. I can't imagine what it's going to look like at daylight. It's been torrential.
We've had hundreds of lightening strikes and unreal cloud-cloud , almost non stop since about 9 PM CST
This has been going on for over 3 hours now; we had nothing forecast, nothing.
857. presslord
1:07 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
I just saw that Amazon was down for 2 1/2 hours...and WU had big troubles...Wonder if the two are related....
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856. TampaSpin
1:09 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
I better go get some beauty sleep and boy do i need to get alot to look better...lol
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855. condesa
5:07 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Heh there TampaSpin-
Alright, you rock! Gracias!!!
Thanks! I'll tell you what, this lightening is something else; do you know if there is someplace for lightening strikes in Mexico?
854. TampaSpin
1:07 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
840. TampaSpin 12:16 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
One thing of note is Low pressure continues in the BOC. And some models show low pressure in the very Southern edge of BOC also....I think something will develop in that area these next 7 days.

I noted this earlier.

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853. TampaSpin
1:01 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
851. condesa 1:01 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
Lots of heavy rain and not letting up it looks like.
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852. presslord
1:00 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
seems to be tampa....
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851. condesa
4:59 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Heh there-
we keep getting wave after wave of lightening storm, heavy rain,m big thunder.
Power, server, signal off and on; I've tried getting through to the weather service but can't and it takes forever to download anything.
Can someone give me a quick pic or idea of what's over us and coming at us?
Thanks-Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico 18.92 99.23
850. TampaSpin
12:59 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
The ITZ if moving further North which allows the Mid Atlantic to pick up. We have very low Shear in the GOM and the GOM SST is getting very very warm above normal.
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849. TampaSpin
12:58 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
PressLord i don't see anything but, things are changing and really getting ripe.
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848. presslord
12:55 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
Anything out there gonna bother anybody in the next few days?
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847. TampaSpin
12:54 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
LMAO......
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846. presslord
12:53 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
just watch yer spellin tampa....
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845. presslord
12:53 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
fair enuff. ..ga night taz....
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844. TampaSpin
12:50 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
842. presslord 12:49 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
somebody say something...


Im afraid to PressLord..if you know what i mean....:)
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843. Tazmanian
9:51 PM PDT on June 06, 2008
good night
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
842. presslord
12:48 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
somebody say something...
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841. cchsweatherman
4:20 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Good night all! Just wanted to leave this image.
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840. TampaSpin
12:14 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
One thing of note is Low pressure continues in the BOC. And some models show low pressure in the very Southern edge of BOC also....I think something will develop in that area these next 7 days.
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839. TampaSpin
12:11 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
SJ you see how the ITZ is moving North appears.....here we go get ready.
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838. StormJunkie
4:08 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
TS, I love that new MIMIC stuff. Said it before, say it again, those folks at CIMSS rock!
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837. Tazmanian
9:01 PM PDT on June 06, 2008
ok TampaSpin but i would keep a watch full eye in it for the next few days has it looks like its going right for the gulf of mx it may have some kind of a ch in there with the vary low wind shear we got in there right now thing little thing can go from this being a ULL to 91L then a TD or TS in no time with the low wind shear

so for now we this need to keep a eye on it and see how it dos overe night
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836. TampaSpin
12:01 AM EDT on June 07, 2008
The ITZ is heading North. Look off the coast of Africa how it has moved North.
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835. svgweather
3:59 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
thanks guys..well i have been around for a year or so now.. WU has become my #1 stop for weather and a little discussion now and then great to see other Caribbean islands in here Goodnight to you al..and pottery send me up some of that rain haha
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834. pottery
11:57 PM AST on June 06, 2008
OK all. Its pouring down, my tanks are filling , I am going to bed. Its midnight on the dot !
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833. condesa
3:52 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Greetings all-
I am in south central Mexico and I mean to tell you that we are being pounded. I saw the forecast earlier for "showers" in central/southern Mexico but this is what we would be calling a severe thuderstorm in N. Texas. Downpour and lightening have tapered off but I can hear another round coming in the distance. It has been spectacular.
832. TampaSpin
11:55 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Hey Taz i was just look at that ULL. I think it is more mid level than ULL so chances of something happening is a little better but, it will need a few days to work down.....don't think that will happen but, time will tell.
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831. pottery
11:56 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Have a great time , Taz.
Say hello to the bugs for me.
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830. Tazmanian
8:52 PM PDT on June 06, 2008
there is a low or and ULL this off the E coast i dont no if any of you been keeping a eye on it but with low wind shear we got right now this is sure worth keeping a eye on


all this a note

note i will be gone for 4 days i will be going camping starting monday and i be back thursday

but i will be here sat and sunday on the blogs
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
829. DDR
3:47 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Greeting svq from trinidad
Yes pottery its beginig to fall heavy now
nice!
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828. stormdude77
11:45 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Before I go...I see another Caribbean blogger is here... (St. Vincent really needed some rain, though)...
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827. TampaSpin
11:43 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
2 things that is looking very strong in the next few days for development will be the GOM. Not only is Shear extremely low but, look at the SST anomaly......wow is the GOM heating up.

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826. pottery
11:44 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Hello, svq. Good to see you.
Stormdude77 is in B'dos, DDR in T&T as well.
Heavy rain here now, real nice.
Will check the site later.
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825. svgweather
3:43 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
hello All... Well i live on the island of st vincent in the eastern caribbean a little north of Pottery's location..we are getting some thunderstorms at the momemt from that tropical wave ..also you can check out this site for all the updates from the islands..i post there as a correspondent on my island as well..just click on "st vincent and the grenadines" on your right and you should see one or more of my posts there :-)
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824. DDR
3:41 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Yes you may be right,the size is impressive and growing ever larger..
Member Since: April 27, 2007 Posts: 14 Comments: 1729
823. pottery
11:37 PM AST on June 06, 2008
DDR I think this rain will be islandwide tonight, looking at the latest images.
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822. pottery
11:35 PM AST on June 06, 2008
G'nite 77.
I'm not sleeping until this thing starts in earnest.....
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821. pottery
11:34 PM AST on June 06, 2008
456, you there?
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820. stormdude77
11:32 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Get ready Pottery...that ''heavy cell'' is going to move over you any time now (next hour or so)



Anyway, I'm off to bed...see y'all tomorrow...
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819. pottery
11:27 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Sleep well Julie. You should hear the thunder soon !
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818. Tazmanian
8:27 PM PDT on June 06, 2008
is any one haveing a hard time with yahoo tonight evere time i hit some in it gos to this yahoo financ page i think yahoo is boo oh tonight
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 115454
817. barbadosjulie
3:26 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Thanks:) i out thought guys sleep calling hear ya'll l8tr
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816. stormdude77
11:24 PM AST on June 06, 2008
I'm not sure if that's a Twave, Pottery! You'll have to ask W456...he's the expert in dectecting those areas....
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815. DDR
3:25 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
LOL pottery
i just saw lighting to my SE
rain is just offshore around mayaro
Member Since: April 27, 2007 Posts: 14 Comments: 1729
814. pottery
11:21 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Julie. Nice pic of Crane beach. Brings back great memories.I was at Lodge School in the 60's, and spent every Saturday morning at Crane.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24904

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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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