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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464. fmbill
1:57 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Don't forget dmax & dmin.
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463. flsky
9:58 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Found an interesting page with basic climate data for beginning mets. Link
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462. Squid28
1:53 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Morning everyone...

Since the tropics are a little slow today, I thought I would post this for everyones input for any additions. In several of the previous years, you see what seems like a 100 requests per day for translation of some acronym that someone has used on the blog. I sat down the other day and started to put together a list and this is as far as I got.

Here are some of the acronyms:

GFDL: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory
HWRF: Hurricane and Weather Research Forecasting
CMC: Canadian Meteorological Center
ECMWF: European Center for Medium range Weather
Forecasting
GFS: Global Forecast System
NOGAPS: Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction
System
UKMET: United Kingdom Meteorological office
NAM: North American Model
MM5: FSU Mesoscale Model
TUTT: Tropical Upper Tropospheric Trof
MJO: Madden Julian Oscillation
OBX: Outer Banks (N.C.)
ULL: Upper Level Low
NEWD: Northeastward
SWWD: Southwestward
NWD: Northward
CATL: Central Atlantic
EATL: East Atlantic
GOMEX: Gulf Of Mexico - sometimes GOM
ULL: Upper level low
NHC: National Hurricane Center
TIA: Thanks in advance
LOL: Laugh out loud
COC: Center of circulation
Fish Storm: Not a threat to land

Does anyone else have any suggestions for what to add? Also feel free to "pirate" this list so that when a storm does come around. Their will be several people with copies of it, because I promise someone will ask....
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461. franck
1:48 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
You don't want to be around when nitrogen fixation occurs on your lawn. That's mostly for fields and forests.
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460. stoormfury
1:46 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Wave east of the islands has flred up in the last sat pics. moving between west and west north west the system will bring showers to the islands late tonite and tomorrow.upper level winds do not support development but the system could bring blustery conditions to the islands
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455. NEwxguy
1:28 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Lake,
your dewpoint is 67 so your in the tropical air mass,which is due here tonight.I'm not going to complain,summer is so short
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454. LakeShadow
1:19 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
g'day! I found another tastey article on the price tag to fix the "warming" issue. This one's a doozy.
$45 trillion needed to combat warming

NewXguy..here's my local stats:

76.3 °F / 24.6 °C
Scattered Clouds
Humidity: 72%
Dew Point: 67 °F / 19 °C
Wind: 2.0 mph / 3.2 km/h / 0.9 m/s from the SSW
Pressure: 30.00 in / 1015.8 hPa (Rising)
Heat Index: 78 °F / 25 °C
Visibility: 10.0 miles / 16.1 kilometers
UV: 3 out of 16
Clouds: Few 5500 ft / 1676 m
Scattered Clouds 10000 ft / 3048 m
(Above Ground Level)

The forecasted temps are high of 90F and low of 72F....
We went from March weather to August weather. quite a shock to the system!

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453. weatherg8r
9:15 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
We are finally getting a little bit of sporadic rain up here in North Florida in the afternoons. It actually rained for an entire 15 minutes last night...twice! Good morning everyone.
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452. Buhdog
1:14 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
I have heard that lightning can "green up" a lawn. Something to do with ions or something...is this true?
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451. ClearH2OFla
9:12 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Good Morning Stormw How are you Sir? Anyone who is getting some rain, if you could sacrifice a glass my lawn would appreciate it.
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450. Buhdog
1:05 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
The grass is starting to go into "hyperactive mode" in SWFL due to the recent rains from our sea-breeze collision favoring the west coast. It has been more widespread than I would like... but the good news is that the heat, high pressure, and light steering winds have suppressed some of the lightning. IMO...of course (not sure if that is really why) We don;t need anymore fires.
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449. NEwxguy
1:08 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Good morning,all.Another wet morning in the northeast.
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448. stormdude77
8:56 AM AST on June 06, 2008
Morning everyone!
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447. surfmom
12:55 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Good Morning Storm !
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446. surfmom
12:53 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Goodness, can't imagine wet.....I swear when it rains I am going to put on my runningshoes & run and run.
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444. surfmom
12:52 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
A bit spoiled, but they don't talk back as a rule!
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443. lickitysplit
12:48 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Here in northern NM, it snowed yesterday. Wet. Wet. Wet. Weird wet. The snow came with thunder and lightening after a terrific wind storm.
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442. nrtiwlnvragn
8:49 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
...."maybe carrots too"

Got a feeling those horses are spoiled rotten :)
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441. surfmom
12:47 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Hey Doc - believe you have a polo club in Wichita. Touchstone is a barn that travels between KS (their homebase ) and Sarasota Polo club.
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440. franck
12:46 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
News says world will need 45 trillion dollars to STOP BUYING JUNK AND SMUTTING UP THE ATMOSPHERE!!!
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439. surfmom
12:42 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Can't say I am happy to hear about this heat. Means NO days off as I will have to be hosing the horses off every afternoon...when they have the water hole they cool themselves off in the hot PM --but since we've had no rain, ain't no water in the hole --just yuckmuck-- least they will be happy to see me "woman = hosing" ...."maybe carrots too"
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438. DocBen
12:39 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Wichita KS - one nice thing about these storms is that the next day is simply georgeous - as long as you dodged the bullet. We got lucky again - things seemed to dance around but miss us here.
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437. BahaHurican
8:32 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
That Twave is looking quite healthy this morning, and it also looks fated to pass north of SAmerica. Despite the fact that the ITCZ is not shifting north at the western end, it seems the Twaves are . . ..

Have a good day, ya'll . . .
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20733
436. weathermanwannabe
8:25 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Good Morning Folks........Looks like some rain headed towards the lower Lesser Antilles today, but, the tropics are quiet this AM...
Member Since: August 8, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 8278
435. nrtiwlnvragn
8:29 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
RECORD HEAT WILL COVER A LARGE PORTION OF THE EAST WHICH ALSO INCLUDES PARTS OF THE SOUTHEAST AND TENNESSEE VALLEY. HIGH TEMPERATURES BOTH FRIDAY AND SATURDAY WILL PUNCH WELL INTO THE MID 90S WITH SOME AREAS EVEN EXPECTING NEAR TRIPLE DIGITS. THESE TEMPERATURES...COMBINED WITH DEW POINTS IN THE LOWER 70S WILL PUSH HEAT INDICES INTO THE LOW 100S. IN RESPONSE TO THIS HEAT...THE FORECAST OFFICE COVERING SOUTHEASTERN VIRGINIA HAS ALREADY PLACED A HEAT ADVISORY FOR THAT REGION OF THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES.

Link
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434. surfmom
12:24 PM GMT on June 06, 2008
Where's the rain? woke up to a smokey air this AM herein SRQ, smoke must have blown over from a fire in Oceola I think. NO work today OMG - house is clean....I think I'm grabbing the board and going for a nice easy paddle on the GOMEX (I call it my hurricane prep responsibility LOL)
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433. TampaSpin
8:10 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
I'm getting the CIMSS site as being down. Is anybody else having the same problem.
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432. presslord
8:14 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Tornadoes Rake Great Plains States
By ROXANA HEGEMAN,AP
Posted: 2008-06-06 06:16:16
Filed Under: Nation News, Natural Disaster
WICHITA, Kan. (June 6) -- Tornadoes dropped onto the Great Plains on Thursday after forecasters warned of a potentially historic outbreak, causing some damage and spooking a pair of circus elephants in Kansas that escaped their enclosure and roamed a town before being captured.


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431. BahaHurican
8:11 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Current N Hemisphere jet stream analysis.

Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20733
430. BahaHurican
7:56 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Morning everybody . . .

421. HadesGodWyvern 4:13 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Oman was hit by Cyclone Gonu on June 6 2007.

weirdness... ARB01-2008 not a major storm like Gonu, is suppose to cross Oman coast tommorrow June 7th.


Yeah, I was thinking abou this last night when I saw the earlier advice. It seems conditions are not genuinely favorable, or this one may have been as powerful as Gonu.


426. IKE 7:44 AM EDT on June 06, 2008

Uh...no...I'll drink water. Isn't it still free?


Nassuvians have been buying drinking water (in the 5-gal containers u would see more normally during hurricanes) for about 20 years now. Currently a 5-gallon bottle of water, with bottle exchange, is around $5.00. We expect gas to hit $6.00 a gallon before the summer even gets fully underway, since it is almost that now.
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 20733
429. Drakoen
11:57 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
The ITCZ is what helped that wave east of the Lesser Antilles fight of the dry air...You'll notice that long thin line that extends downward to the ITCZ. Also its moving into of higher SSTs that are able to support convection. The main problem is that the upper level winds are unfavorable for development. Water vapor imagery suggest the wave is being sheared by upper level westerlies at the base of a tropical upper trough in the Atlantic.
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427. stormdude77
7:45 AM AST on June 06, 2008
Tropical wave approaching the Windwards looks a little more respectable this morning.

Yes...I'm very surprised it fought off the dry air. It will bring some much needed rain to the islands...
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426. IKE
6:41 AM CDT on June 06, 2008
Where I'd been paying $3.09 for a large shake, the price has now gone up to $3.70 - about the price of a gl of gas, now!

Uh...no...I'll drink water. Isn't it still free? The way prices are nowadays you have to make 100 grand a year to survive.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
425. shamanTT
7:22 AM AST on June 06, 2008
Tropical wave approaching the Winwards looks a little more respectable this morning.
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424. keywestdingding
11:18 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
thanks WU for fixing your sst's! YIPPEE
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422. InTheCone
5:57 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
All's quiet on the Southeastern Front....
""

DRY, DRY, and more DRY!!!
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1979
421. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
8:09 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Oman was hit by Cyclone Gonu on June 6 2007.

weirdness... ARB01-2008 not a major storm like Gonu, is suppose to cross Oman coast tommorrow June 7th.

strength is still being held at 30 knots 1 minute sustained wind by the JTWC.
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419. moonlightcowboy
3:01 AM CDT on June 06, 2008


Here we go with food prices! Within the last two weeks fast food has been raising their prices quickly, too.

I'm a chocolate milkshake fan and generally buy at least on per week. My favorite shake is at Hardee's because they use real ice cream, but you don't get a big cup. Still, it tastes much better. And, their location is sort of out of my way here, too. So, shopping around the past several weeks, I've found that the all-around best value for shakes was at Burger King - UNTIL today!

Where I'd been paying $3.09 for a large shake, the price has now gone up to $3.70 - about the price of a gl of gas, now!

That's a 16.5 percent increase.

Looks like I'll learn to start making my own soon! And, that makes me think that we're only going to see more things keep going up - next statistic I expect we'll see going up is the "crime rate!"

Get ready......it's coming!


Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29594
418. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
7:59 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
India Meteorological Department
Special Tropical Cyclone Outlook
11:30 AM IST June 6 2008

---------------------------------------
At 8:30 AM IST, The Depression over east central moved north-northwest and lays centered at 19.5N 62.0E or 1150 kms west of Mumbai, India. 700 km southwest of Kurachi, Pakistan, and 450 kms southeast of Sur, Oman. The system is likely to move in a northwesterly direction and cross Oman coast between 20.5N-22.5N by tomorrow between 0300 and 0600 UTC.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 25-30 knots with a central pressure of 995 hPa.

Sea conditions is rough to very rough around the system's center.

Recent satellite imagery shows sheared convection to the west of system's center. Broken intense to very intense convective clouds are seen over the Arabian Sea between 15.0N-20.5N and west of 63.0E.

Available buoy, ship, and satellite observations indicat strong low level westerly flow on the equatorward side of the system. Strong westward diffluence at the upper troposphere is helping development of the convection, However the system lies in a region of moderate easterly vertical wind shear and on the equatorward side of an upper level ridge running roughly along 21.0N.
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417. STORMTTOP
6:26 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
everybody die or what...
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416. listenerVT
5:33 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Oklahoma severe weather reports:
http://www.newson6.com/Global/story.asp?S=8440022
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414. StormJunkie
5:25 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Certainly looks nasty H

Rough night across much of the Midwest
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.