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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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: 24264
813. hahaguy
11:21 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Dam fine print LOL.
Member Since: August 12, 2007 Posts: 2 Comments: 2838
812. pottery
11:18 PM AST on June 06, 2008
hahaguy, I forgot to mention, those re-packaged things, if you check the fine print, it clearly say "NO RETURN".
Sorry.....
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811. hahaguy
11:19 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Couldn't agree with you more stormdude.
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810. stormdude77
11:13 PM AST on June 06, 2008
These Twaves are coming off the African coast too frequent for my liking...I hope this is not a sign of these to come...
809. barbadosjulie
3:18 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
responded stormdude
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808. pottery
11:15 PM AST on June 06, 2008
77, is that a wave, at 10n 14 w ?
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807. pottery
11:15 PM AST on June 06, 2008
heheheh
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806. hahaguy
11:13 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Well pottery that's a complaint for the management LOL.
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805. stormdude77
11:12 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Barbadosjulie...if you're still here, check your mail...
804. pottery
11:11 PM AST on June 06, 2008
LOL hahaguy. Post 801
We just take the systems, re-package them, and send them off to you.
Just trying to please.
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803. hahaguy
11:10 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Another good looking wave about to come off

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802. pottery
11:05 PM AST on June 06, 2008
I dont know, Shawn.
There is weather from central Mexico, all the way down to Columbia, and a large area in the Pacific as well, offshore but connected.
Looks like more than evening showers to me right now.
All will be revealed in the morning I guess.
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801. hahaguy
3:09 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
The islands are the first line of defense for us in the U.S.
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800. barbadosjulie
3:07 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
lol, well we are usually the first to be affected
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799. pottery
3:05 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
This is quickly turning into an Island Blog, LOL
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798. OUSHAWN
3:05 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
The storms you are seeing over the Yucatan is just the normal afternoon and evening storms that fire up this time of year there and move out over the BOC. Give it a few hours and those storms will pretty much dissapate over the water. Happens almost every day because of the heat and interaction of the land there.
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797. barbadosjulie
3:01 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
doing great!! looking forward to being here this season & keeping track of everything, hope everyone is doing well :)
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796. stormdude77
3:00 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Hello barbadosjulie AKA neighbour (long time no see)...how have you been doing?
795. pottery
3:00 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Hi Julie.
Meanwhile,the dry air over the Trop. Atl all the way to Africa is retreating fast. And a very large body of wet air is at 10 n just about to exit Africa. Looking good for the next feature there.
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794. stormdude77
2:57 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Actually, It is associated with the ITCZ...

...ITCZ...

ITCZ AXIS IS CENTERED ALONG 4N8W 5N14W 4N19W 6N25W 4N32W INTO NE
BRAZIL NEAR 2N51W. CLUSTERS OF SCATTERED MODERATE/ISOLATED
STRONG CONVECTION ARE FROM 1N TO INLAND OVER SW AFRICA BETWEEN
THE PRIME MERIDIAN AND 11W AND WITHIN 120 NM OF LINE FROM 5N31W
5N44W TO 10N54W. SCATTERED CLUSTERS OF SIMILAR CONVECTION ARE
FROM 1N-8N BETWEEN 11W-21W.

The convection around 8N, 32W is another Twave

TROPICAL WAVE IS SLIGHTLY TILTED TO THE NE FROM 3N27W TO 12N25W
MOVING W NEAR 10 KT. THE WAVE CONTINUES TO BE ILL-DEFINED AND
WAS RELOCATED BASED ON THE MIMIC-TPW ANIMATION ALONG THE PEAK
MOISTURE CURVATURE. HOWEVER...SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS NO DEEP
CONVECTION WITH BROKEN/OVERCAST LOW/MID CLOUDS WITH ISOLATED
SHOWERS WITHIN 120 NM EITHER SIDE OF THE WAVE AXIS.
793. barbadosjulie
2:56 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
We in Barbados had some rain showers this afternoon but nothing to shout about as yet
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791. pottery
2:54 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
77, from the wave in question, there is a plume of moisture south/east a long way into the Atlantic.
This is not the ITCZ is it ? Cant have jumped that far north overnight??
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790. stormdude77
2:50 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
It's starting to rain here...I think I'll stay up the entire night to witness this, LOL... J/K
788. pottery
2:46 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Yes, 77. That is indeed an impressive area of convection. Vast.
There must be an awful lot of energy being created and things could change really fast there I think.
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786. stormdude77
2:41 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Wow, lot's of convection is over Central America at this time. I wouldn't be surprised if something formed in the BOC, by late next week or so...
785. pottery
2:39 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Yes I did, 456. Sorry for the confusion..........
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784. Cavin Rawlins
2:35 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
NVM
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783. pottery
2:34 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
LOL 77.
Its the confusion brought about by rain falling on my head.
Sorry about that.
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782. DDR
2:29 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Hello stormdude77
pottery,it drizzled twice then stoped,it looks like south trinidad will get the most rain tonight.
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781. stormdude77
2:28 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
LOL...Pottery you seem to be mixing up W456 with me...
780. pottery
2:28 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
None that I know of Taz.
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779. stormdude77
2:27 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
This is my forecast...if it is anything to go by, I might get lucky...

A strong tropical wave is moving over the island.
Weather: Tonight: Cloudy with showers and isolated thunderstorms.

Tomorrow: Cloudy to overcast with moderate to heavy showers, scattered thunderstorms and occasional gusty winds.


778. pottery
2:26 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Nice, steady rain right now,. No sounds from that lightening as yet. You have some flashers to your south too, 456.
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777. BahaHurican
2:25 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Goodnight, all. I'm too beat right now to see what happens with that Twave. I'll check in in the a.m. . . .

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776. Tazmanian
2:24 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
any mode runs forcasting any thing???
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775. pottery
2:22 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Very nice site, 456. Thanks man.
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774. Tazmanian
2:17 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
sorry i had the dran thing on Order Posted 1st and i did not no it it was on there ooooops
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
773. Drakoen
2:16 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
765. StSimonsIslandGAGuy 2:08 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Well I am not really looking at the shear now. Unless we have a July like 2005, which I think is unlikely, I will start paying attention to shear in August, and what degree each storm is facing in its path and at that time.


lol. one after the other after the other after the other.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30311
772. stormdude77
2:14 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Pottery, here (it's a great website)...
771. pottery
2:14 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
I am not noticing any dropped posts, Taz.
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770. pottery
2:12 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
77, a link to that lightening map would be appreciated. Thanks.
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769. Tazmanian
2:11 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
is it me are did we lost some pots and commets in dr m blog or are we not up to date here


where the commets i posted be for???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114965
768. pottery
2:10 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Yeah 77.
The humidity has gone from 69% at 6:oo, to 97% !! now according to piarco.
Pressure is up by 1 , to 1014 and rising, strangely enough.
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767. severstorm
2:09 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
wow taz gas is really hi out there here in florida its around 3.85. i agree with you no storms in the gulf
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766. stormdude77
2:08 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Pottery, there's some rather strong thunderstorms approaching your area (look at this map below)...

Lightning Strikes - in the last hour

Yellow strokes are Intra or Inter-Cloud (IC)

Red strokes are Cloud-To-Ground (CG)

764. stormdude77
2:06 AM GMT on June 07, 2008
Looks like ''big fare up'' of convection just east of Trinidad, assciated with this Twave (probadly due to the Dmax)?

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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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