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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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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413. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:27 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
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411. StormJunkie
5:20 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
That was for that link. Not sure how you post the WU radars in a blog.

Most images you just right click select properties, copy the image location, hit image above the post box on WU, then past the location in there.
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409. StormJunkie
5:12 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
405.

Evening Houstonian.

You have one too many http's in that address. If you modify the post you will see it.

Hope that helps
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406. listenerVT
1:10 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Am considering replacing my melting PC with a Mac.

Does anyone have an opinion on the difference between the two
as regards quality of weather graphics?
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402. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:02 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Dvorak Intensity is reading 2.5 for 99A.

No upgraded from the JTWC

IMD has not released any new bulletins since 18:00 PM UTC (2330 IST)
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400. HIEXPRESS
12:29 AM EDT on June 06, 2008
Hey Chicklit.
Tomorrow another day of watching what little showers the seabreeze kicks up depart to the West. Wait! Come back rain!
Member Since: October 13, 2005 Posts: 4 Comments: 2156
399. Tazmanian
9:31 PM PDT on June 05, 2008
so dos ca
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398. Chicklit
11:22 PM EST on June 05, 2008
...It's raining somewhere...just not here!
(Florida needs a good soaking.)
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397. Patrap
10:29 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
WTIO21 PGTW 051930
MSGID/GENADMIN/NAVPACMETOCCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/JTWC//
SUBJ/TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT//
REF/A/RMG/NAVPACMETOCCEN PEARL HARBOR HI/050121Z JUN 08//
AMPN/REF IS TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT (WTIO21 PGTW 050130)//
RMKS/ Link



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396. TampaSpin
11:28 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
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395. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
3:24 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Japan Meteorological Agency
WWJP25 Weather Chart
09:00 AM JST June 6 2008

Subject: Tropical Depression in seas south of Okinawa

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression (1006 hPa) located near 24.5N 122.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts up to 45 knots. The depression is reported moving north-northeast slowly.
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394. Patrap
10:27 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
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393. Patrap
10:22 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
wunderground interactive Tornado Page Link

Storm capable of producing a tornado
Tornado Vortex Signature (EAX_O7)
ID: O7
County: Platte
Max: 62 dBZ
Top: 40,000 ft.
VIL: 66 kg/mē
Chance of Severe Hail: 50%
Chance of Hail: 100%
Max Hail Size: 1.25 in.
Speed: 47 knots
Direction (from): SW (220)
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392. TampaSpin
11:13 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
We have 6 active tornado's right now in the midwest......wow
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391. Smyrick145
2:49 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Drakoen,
I believe the crownweather.com would agree with you as well.
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390. DDR
2:32 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Lol i live near the highway.
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389. JLPR
10:30 PM AST on Junio 05, 2008
Well I'm out =P
I need to get early tomorrow
Good Night!
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388. fire831rescue
2:35 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
I'm out for the night, guys. Gotta go to work tomorrow. Ya'll take it easy. Email me if something develops
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387. pottery
10:33 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Hii 77, that dry is like a great big sponge there.
See you all tomorow
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385. pottery
10:31 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Well, I'm out. Have a safe one all.
Maybe it will rain tonight...........
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384. stormdude77
10:28 PM AST on June 05, 2008
That's a ''good looking'' wave at 11N, 52W. However, dry air is eating away all of the convection associated with it...

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383. WPBHurricane05
10:24 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
Not even our most "conservative model" shows development. :)
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382. pottery
10:21 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Ah, DDR. Maybe I should abandon the flat-lands, and join you in the hills, man.
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381. DDR
2:15 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
I got some rain over the past 3 days,that wave around 45w
should bring us some much needed rain fall on saturday if it holds its present speed and convection.
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380. help4u
2:15 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Sweet global warming dreams.Good night. Stay cool.
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379. pottery
10:13 PM AST on June 05, 2008
All"s well, DDR. Still hot, dry, dusty, and no break in sight anywhere...
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378. fire831rescue
2:14 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Anyone care to do a rain dance outside my house?
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377. JLPR
10:11 PM AST on Junio 05, 2008
=) lol I if could send you some I would do it =P
It has been raining almost all June =( But I guess the plants needed a little bit of H2O =)
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376. pottery
10:11 PM AST on June 05, 2008
LOL !
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375. DDR
2:10 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Hello pottery how are things with you?
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374. fire831rescue
2:10 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
JLPR, I haven't seen rain here in almost 3 weeks. Maybe I need to wash the truck. It ALWAYS rains when I do that...
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373. pearlandaggie
2:09 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
371. later, pottery60! j/k..have a good night!
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
372. JLPR
10:07 PM AST on Junio 05, 2008
one of those upper troughs and a upper low is making my days cloudy =P damn =P
I haven't seen the sun set in a while =P lol it rains everyday =( But oh well I guess its better to get rain that to not get any =)
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371. pottery
10:07 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Have a good night, Pearland.
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370. fire831rescue
2:08 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Good one, Drak. You got me there. I did push things a little far, didn't I?
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369. Drakoen
2:07 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
368. fire831rescue 2:07 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Ah.... back to tropics.... Yay! No more GW. No more CC. No more IQ and age. Just plain old, everyday, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, more-of-the-usual stuff tropics... Ok, ok. I admit... I took that one a little far.


I was trying to deviate from the current subject. I assume it worked...
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
368. fire831rescue
2:04 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Ah.... back to tropics.... Yay! No more GW. No more CC. No more IQ and age. Just plain old, everyday, run-of-the-mill, ordinary, more-of-the-usual stuff tropics... Ok, ok. I admit... I took that one a little far.
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367. pearlandaggie
2:05 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
well, folks, i'm out (and i'm sure a lot of your are happy!). have a great evening :)
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
366. Drakoen
2:05 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Conditions are generally unfavorable for development. Two tropical upper troughs exists in the Atlantic basin. The first upper trough exists at 30N 60W extending down to 15N 75W in the Caribbean. Two upper level lows are along the upper trough axis one at 26N 66W and another upper level low over eastern Cuba. The other tropical upper trough is around 14N 52W extending upperward to 28N 44W.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30562
365. pottery
10:00 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Baha, check 456's post on the previous page, re; ITCZ position.

Post 323.
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364. BahaHurican
9:57 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
359.

I'd say this year seems to be one where a June storm might be likely, except for that very low ITCZ.

Nobody responded to that question about why it's so low in the ATL, did they? My theory is that it is being affected by the far southeastern position of the AB high. Any other possibilities?
Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22321

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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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