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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663. myway
9:44 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Weatherbrat
My post was about respect not politics like some others I read. And it was a weather event. The D-Day invasion was to happen another day except the weather was not right.

Just show respect for thoes that have made our lives easier.
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662. weatherbrat
3:42 PM CST on June 06, 2008
Excuse me "Myway" but this is a WEATHER blog....let us all try to keep it that way. There's enough bickering about weather during the season....we don't need to add politics into it too.

THANK YOU!!
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661. myway
9:25 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Very sad. An I the only one who has respect for thoes who lost all (post 529). Some speak of Obama, some speak of Clinton and some McCain. The fact that the banter you have participated in is allowe, is due to our vets, especially the WWII vets.

I am shocked that it seems to be a distant thought that they died for your freedom 64 yars ago today. It was a weather event if you know your history.

I am sure many people of the greatest generation (I am not one of them, but I do respect them). Weather blogs are not just for the spoiled few that have reaped the rewards of sacrifice but not sacrificed themselves.

Once again

THANK YOU D_DAY VETS. RIP D-DAY SOULS THAT NEVER MADE IT HOME.
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660. CaymanWarrior
3:35 PM CST on June 06, 2008
ps just a quick test if my account works - i always read Dr M's blog and being down here in Cayman gives me a birds eye view of the storms, so feel free to ask re the weather if a storm is bearing down on us. re those swirls (anti-cyclone?) like the one discussed above i just look at them and say ooo pretty as at the least they are interesting to watch even if not dangerous. There was a huge one in the north west atlantic a couple of months ago. As for the jet stream is there a separate stream over the atlantic? It takes far less time to fly one way over the atlantic to/from cayman than it does the other and i always assumed it was the jet stream. I could be mad but im certain a BA flight i was on was reading a ground speed of > 1,000mph due to the tailwind!
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659. weathermanwannabe
5:34 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
658. hurricaneman23 5:33 PM EDT on June 06, 2008 Not really; going home to get some food & beer......Have a nice weekend All...WW
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658. hurricaneman23
9:32 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
is there anything worth wathcing in the atlantic right now?
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657. weathermanwannabe
5:23 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
656. 7544 5:08 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
It does not help me up here in North Florida (dry as hell right now) but I'm happy for the rest of you guys in Florida, if, it comes to pass (does not surprise me that Melbourne NWS is not as enthusiastic about the possible rain chances......It could go "poof" and leave us high and dry, so, guess we need to wait until it gets closer to Florida over the weekend to see if it might bring any rain)....
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656. 7544
9:05 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
that swril the ull has been there scince last night if it can get some moisture does it has a chance of being a sts moving west as some models were showing this feature eralier this week this could bring se fla some rian
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655. Weather456
5:01 PM AST on June 06, 2008
645. weathers4me 4:44 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Is this swirl an ULL?


yeah
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654. weathers4me
9:03 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Skye: Thanks
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653. weathers4me
8:59 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
weatherman: That sounds like music to my ears. Thanks.
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652. Skyepony (Mod)
8:59 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Melbourne NWS wasn't so optimistic about the pops it may bring
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651. Skyepony (Mod)
8:57 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
645..yes, ULL
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650. weathermanwannabe
4:51 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
645. weathers4me 4:44 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Yes it is; maybe it will squeeze out some rain for Florida by Monday..........

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MIAMI FL
301 PM EDT FRI JUN 6 2008

THE MID TO UPPER LEVEL LOW WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE WEST TO NORTHWEST ON SUNDAY AND BY MONDAY BE OVER CENTRAL FLORIDA. THERE WILL ALSO BE A
TROUGH OF LOW PRESSURE EXTENDING SOUTHWARD FROM THE LOW INTO THE CWA DURING THIS TIME. THIS WILL LEAD TO A CHANCE OF SHOWERS AND
THUNDERSTORMS OVER MOST OF THE CWA SUNDAY AND MONDAY AFTERNOONS.SO HAVE RAISE THE POPS TO CHANCE CAT OVER SOUTH FLORIDA FOR BOTH
DAYS.
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649. NEwxguy
8:53 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Hey,I just hit 60 for the first time in two days,we here in Boston want some of that southern heat.
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648. weathers4me
8:48 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
surfmom: I hear you. We have been missed yet again just north of you in Bradenton, Terra Ceia. I personally have not seen it this dry 2 years running now for this time of the year.
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646. Weather456
4:43 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Overloaded on June 6....C'mon its not even Sep 10 yet...lol
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645. weathers4me
8:43 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Is this swirl an ULL?


Link
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644. chessrascal
4:41 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Hey all just updated my blog! Link
643. surfmom
8:34 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Pleased to announce in Sarasota, FL I am experiencing a brief, but more then welcomed afternoon rain shower! Wish it would just pour for an hour or two - but this is better then nada. Boss sick off to feed horses grrrrr.



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642. catastropheadjuster
8:32 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Floodman that was happening to me, it took me forever to get back on. It said it was overloaded.
Sheri
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641. Dakster
4:25 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
so, anyways.

Any chance on one of the African Waves to develope? I know it is a little early for the Cape Verde season, but those waves look good for this time of year.
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640. DocBen
8:27 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Another blob north of Panama. Any possibilities?
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639. presslord
4:24 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
presslord seconds Drak's motion....
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638. Drakoen
8:08 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Can you guys please move the politics to a different blog.
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637. franck
7:51 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
No further comment.
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636. stormdude77
3:46 PM AST on June 06, 2008
It looks like the Twave around 11N, 57W, is now feeling the effects from the 25-30 knots of wind shear...
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634. stormdude77
3:41 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Stormtop, why do you still post here? You should have been permabanned long ago, after actually thought that Irene would actually hit the Carolina's as a Category 3...LOL.

LOL...
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633. franck
7:40 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Don't dis Hillary. Wonder if she knows she only needs 1/3 + 1 to be President.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
632. Floodman
7:35 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
The site is back up...got bumped; most definitely overload. Are they working on infrastructure, or is someone playing silly buggers with the servers?
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631. SpaceThrilla1207
7:37 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Stormtop, why do you still post here? You should have been permabanned long ago, after you actually thought that Irene would actually hit the Carolina's as a Category 3...LOL.

EDIT: I just found out that you were banned from all Wunderblogs. Enjoy it.
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630. SpaceThrilla1207
7:35 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
drak, the El Nino that formed during the latter stages of the hurricane season in 2004 dissipated pretty rapidly...I believe it was March-April 2005 when a neutral to weak La Nina started to take over.
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629. STORMTTOP
7:32 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Wave ... is nothing. This is just Hot air from the Clinton camp.. has nothing better to do but wonder around.
628. Drakoen
7:33 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
lol: another 2005...

lol: an El Nino that dissipates that rapidly
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627. SpaceThrilla1207
7:16 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
I mean there's nothing really to worry about in the long run...even if it does develop into a strong TD/weak TS it won't develop any further and will probably be short-lived anyway.

Bottom line is this is no major threat to land...Not going to be our first hurricane of 2008...NEXT! Laff.

I mean this year is the supposed next 2004, not 2005, right? I don't seriously know why people make any comparisons to 2005 this year, anyway. There should be more 2004 comparisons. We already have our first storm, and that year we didn't have Alex until August 1. NO storms formed in June/July. I highly doubt that this year is going to be another 2005 in which two category four hurricanes form in mid-July.

Honestly, I do believe there will be a season that beats 2005 within the next 5 years, due to the active period of tropical activity, a year where EVERYTHING comes together (low shear, HOT HOT HOT sea surface temps throughout the Atlantic, high TCHP, low surface pressures, weak La Nina, moist enough air, strong ITCZ/african wave train. But I just don't believe it will be this year. I think this will be another 2004...slow start, then plenty of activity in August/September...I predict about 14-16 named storms, counting Arthur.

If the upcoming El Nino that will form in October dissipates in time for a weak La Nina to form in time for next hurricane season, we might see another season similar to 2005 next season...but that is a VERY LONG WAY OUT in the future and TOO FAR OUT to predict and everyone, especially in florida, should be preparing to their hardest degree for THIS HURRICANE SEASON, beginning August first. June/July is weak tropical storm season this year.
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625. Drakoen
7:17 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
site overload it seems...
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624. Weather456
2:39 PM AST on June 06, 2008
622. Drakoen 2:33 PM AST on June 06, 2008

true true
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623. Weather456
2:38 PM AST on June 06, 2008
621. hurricane23 2:32 PM AST on June 06, 2008

I agree
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622. Drakoen
6:33 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
619. Weather456 6:31 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
617. Drakoen 2:27 PM AST on June 06, 2008

You and I see these things with different views and We've been through this before thus I did not want to go over it again.


That's ok. If we were all the same that would make for a rather boring world.
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621. hurricane23
2:32 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Nothing to worry about as upper level conditions do not support intensification of the wave mentioned in the TWO.

Either way the NHC has it at 20 percent which is a non-issue at the present time.

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620. weathermanwannabe
2:23 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Would be actually nice to see that ULL at 25N-68W keep moving in, build some convection, and bring some rain to South Florida.......
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8310
619. Weather456
2:27 PM AST on June 06, 2008
617. Drakoen 2:27 PM AST on June 06, 2008

You and I see these things with different views and We've been through this before thus I did not want to go over it again.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
618. stormdude77
2:25 PM AST on June 06, 2008
Hello, Pottery!

Looks like you may get the brunt of the activity tonight (through till tomorrow), enjoy it while it lasts ya hear, LOL...
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617. Drakoen
6:25 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
616. Weather456 6:23 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
602. Drakoen 2:08 PM AST on June 06, 2008

None intended.


Thats ok. It's just that when you said "That again..." and "I'm not debating that with you" those words tend to turn people away.
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616. Weather456
2:21 PM AST on June 06, 2008
602. Drakoen 2:08 PM AST on June 06, 2008

None intended.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
615. cchsweatherman
2:15 PM EDT on June 06, 2008
Latest Visible for Tropical Wave

Latest Visible for ULL
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5030

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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.