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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264. STORMTTOP
11:59 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
the global weather is about to get very violent. To the likes of which we have never seen. Our Days Are Numbered.
263. StormHype
12:02 AM GMT on June 06, 2008
Finally got about 60 seconds of rain here in Sarasota FL in the last hour. 0.01". Looks like that it for probably a week at least.
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262. hahaguy
8:01 PM EDT on June 05, 2008



Thank god it is not august or september
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261. chessrascal
7:43 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
I updated my blog with a lot of satellite imagery
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259. Drakoen
11:28 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
257. chessrascal 11:25 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
For anyone who hasn't downloaded Global Tracks free hurricane software here is the Link


That looks like a free version of digital atmosphere lol.
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258. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
7:23 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
179 days remain
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257. chessrascal
7:25 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
For anyone who hasn't downloaded Global Tracks free hurricane software here is the Link
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256. Weather456
7:01 PM AST on June 05, 2008
247. pottery 6:48 PM AST on June 05, 2008
..and, what are the conditions that are keeping it there ??


Decrease SE Trades relative to the NE Trades
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
255. DocBen
11:00 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
82 mph winds in goddard just west of Wichita. Lots of funnel clouds but not quite tornadoes just yet around Wichita.

sirens ust went off
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254. pearlandaggie
11:02 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
i guess it's back up now.......
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
253. weathersp
6:58 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
Did the whole site just go down?
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252. condesa
10:49 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
cchsweatherman-
What's the unusual location in the axis?
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251. atmoaggie
10:47 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
These storms out there so far are not your classic supercells that produce the strong, damaging tornadoes.

Your mid-level flow needs to push your storms off the boundary that initiates them...which is usually a North-South oriented dry line.


And what a broad line of convection along that dry line. I am actually in Tulsa, OK right now. I'll be here a bit later when the line approaches.

bbl.
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250. weatherfromFlorida
10:48 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
239. Do I see a Tropical Deppresion forming out in Ohio?
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249. pottery
6:48 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Eh ??
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248. Baybuddy
10:48 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
217. leftovers 8:50 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Gas prices are high because suckers like I pay them. If everyone stopped driving it would not take long for them to go down.

Bravo.
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247. pottery
6:47 PM AST on June 05, 2008
..and, what are the conditions that are keeping it there ??
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246. pottery
5:26 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Is it normal for the ITCZ to be so far south in June ? From 40 west or so, that is.
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245. pearlandaggie
10:39 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
205. i was planning a run offshore until the wave forecast was updated and they are now predicting 3-5 footers on satuday. consequently, i hadn't made plans to go...i don't even know if tickets are still available. i think i might look into it as i think my kids would really enjoy it (assuming i can afford it!).

239. LMAO!
Member Since: September 14, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 3963
244. weatherblog
10:30 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
So slow in here...anyways, I'm out...!
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243. weatherblog
10:16 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Yea, and the ITCZ looks to be high around the coast of Africa, and then in takes a nosedive south...way south.
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242. weatherblog
10:11 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Sorry for the delay, but thanks for the update Levi32 and W456!

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241. cchsweatherman
6:06 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
240. cchsweatherman
6:02 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
...TROPICAL WAVES...

TROPICAL WAVE IS INTRODUCED ALONG 23W S OF 16N MOVING W 15 KT.
SOUNDING DATA FROM DAKAR STILL REVEALS A STRONG RISE/FALL
COUPLET IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT FIELDS...WITH THE MOST NOTABLE
BEING 2-3 MB PRESSURE RISES TODAY IN THE WAKE OF THIS FEATURE.
MIMIC-TPW ANIMATION ALSO SHOWS A NEW SURGE OF DEEP MOISTURE
RISING TO 15N ALONG 20W IN ASSOCIATION WITH THIS WAVE
....AND THE
LATEST SFC ANALYSIS SHOWS A NORTHWARD RISE IN THE ITCZ.
ALTHOUGH
RECENT METEOSAT IMAGERY IS UNAVAILABLE...MORNING IMAGES DID
INDICATE SCATTERED TO WIDESPREAD CONVECTION FROM 04N TO 09N
BETWEEN 21W AND 28W...IN AN UNUSUAL LOCATION W OF THE AXIS.

...ITCZ...

ITCZ AXIS IS CENTERED ALONG 12N16W TO 03N27W TO 00N35W TO
01S47W. METEOSAT IMAGERY IS UNAVAILABLE AT THIS HOUR TO DESCRIBE
CURRENT CONVECTION.
Member Since: April 14, 2007 Posts: 8 Comments: 5169
239. WPBHurricane05
6:00 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
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238. WPBHurricane05
5:57 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
omg lol

this GW is worse than I thought, look at the map on WU, lol


Al Gore wasn't kidding when he said sea levels were rising!
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235. Randyman
4:40 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
KWCH out of Wichita, KS is still streaming live...Link
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233. 69Viking
4:14 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
It's been fun everyone but my weekend starts now! I'll try to check in periodically, until then everyone be safe, especially those dodging tornados in the midwest.
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232. DocBen
9:31 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Gonna be a long night here in Wichita!
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228. Weather456
5:17 PM AST on June 05, 2008
225. weatherblog 5:16 PM AST on June 05, 2008
Anyone got any information referring to the tropics?


A tropical wave along 52W between 20N and 10N. Showers remain limited to non-existent due to the dry enviroment the wave is embedded in. Little expected of this feature.

An area of disturbed weather north of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico associated with a surface trof enached by diffluent aloft east of an upper trough along 30N/60W-15N/78W. Increase shower actvity noted with this feature but conditions are only marginally favorable for development. Some models show a weak low pressure area forming with this system...possible subtropical in nature...as it tracks west to west-northwest around a a high in the central atl. Confidence of development over the next 24 hrs: low

Otherwise, nothing much to speak of.
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
227. Levi32
1:18 PM AKDT on June 05, 2008


Not that much to discuss weatherblog. Not yet anyway.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26659
226. Levi32
1:15 PM AKDT on June 05, 2008
224. OSUWXGUY 1:08 PM AKDT on June 05, 2008 Hide this comment.
And Levi-

I apologize if I came off condescending while responding to your post. Here in Ohio thanks to geography and associated climatology we seem to ALWAYS have crappy unidirectional shear. I've seen days that from a speed shear and CAPE perspective sucked...and with the turning windfield we end up squeezing out a few tornadoes.


No need to apologize at all. We're all here to discuss things, and I don't even disagree with anything you said, except that I think there will be more tornadoes today than you think. And that's ok, you may be right, but we're all here to learn and observe what happens.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26659
225. weatherblog
9:15 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Anyone got any information referring to the tropics?
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224. OSUWXGUY
9:03 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
And Levi-

I apologize if I came off condescending while responding to your post. Here in Ohio thanks to geography and associated climatology we seem to ALWAYS have crappy unidirectional shear. I've seen days that from a speed shear and CAPE perspective sucked...and with the turning windfield we end up squeezing out a few tornadoes.
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223. presslord
5:03 PM EDT on June 05, 2008
Important Notice to Mariners

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEEKS COOPERATION TO SAFEGUARD CRITICAL DATA BUOYS

The National Weather Service is soliciting the cooperation of the marine community to safeguard offshore automated weather buoys that provide critical information, including wind speed and direction, wave height, pressure changes, and other key data about marine conditions and developing storms along the coast. The data buoys are an integral part of the comprehensive observation system that allows local forecast offices to issue weather warnings and forecasts for the protection of life and property.

"Because of the importance of the buoys to the marine and coastal communities, we hope to enlist their help in protecting these and similar systems," added Scally.

Specific steps that mariners can take to safeguard the systems include:

-neither boarding nor tying-up to a data buoy;

-giving the buoy a wide berth to avoid entangling the buoy's mooring or other equipment suspended from the buoy--500 yards for vessels which are trailing gear, and at least 20 yards for all others;
reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard any damage you observe to a data buoy;

-reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard any observation of people on or vessels attached to a weather buoy.
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222. NorthxCakalaky
8:52 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
I hate HEAT WAVES!!!
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221. 69Viking
3:52 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
218. tornadofan

Just imagine how slow the crawl would be without the severe weather in the central plains!

The tropics are definitely setting up for an active year, I think it's just a matter of time before we have another early season tropical storm to talk about.
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220. OSUWXGUY
8:54 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Agreed tornadofan. It's a shame that this blog gets so easily sidetracked by GW discussions or personal bickering...but I find myself continuing to learn new stuff here...which makes it worthwhile.
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219. Greyelf
3:44 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
Hey...it's that derecho word. I don't know that I've ever noticed that before. Just great. I'm in that area.

"INCLUDING
THE POSSIBILITY OF AN EVENTUAL DERECHO WITH WIDESPREAD WIND DAMAGE
ESPECIALLY ACROSS THE HIGH RISK/ADJACENT MODERATE RISK AREAS OF
KS/NEB INTO IA"
Member Since: June 5, 2007 Posts: 18 Comments: 838
218. tornadofan
8:49 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
Great to see a weather discussion today.

Bad to see the blog crawling in speed again.
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216. OSUWXGUY
8:44 PM GMT on June 05, 2008
I'll get off my soap box now. I just have spent a LOT of time looking at severe weather when I was in grad school at the University of Oklahoma. Most of my friends out there are the chasers you usually see in videos.
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215. Randyman
3:36 PM CDT on June 05, 2008
This line of storms haven't quite consolidated into a squall line just yet...



MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1233
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0327 PM CDT THU JUN 05 2008

AREAS AFFECTED...PARTS OF CNTRL KS/NW OK

CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 465...

VALID 052027Z - 052200Z

THE SEVERE WEATHER THREAT FOR TORNADO WATCH 465 CONTINUES.

EVOLUTION OF A PRE-FRONTAL SQUALL LINE IS NOW WELL UNDERWAY FROM
NEAR CONCORDIA SOUTHWARD THROUGH MEDICINE LODGE...AND RAPID NEW
DEVELOPMENT IS COMMENCING SOUTHWARD INTO WESTERN OKLAHOMA. THIS IS
OCCURRING AS INHIBITION WEAKENS ALONG THE LEADING EDGE OF STRONGER
MID-LEVEL COOLING...WHICH COULD APPROACH MANHATTAN/WICHITA AND ENID
BY/SHORTLY AFTER 23Z. LOW-LEVEL HODOGRAPHS ARE GENERALLY
UNIDIRECTIONAL...BUT SHEAR BENEATH A 50 KT SOUTHERLY 850 JET IS
EXTREME...AND SUPPORTIVE OF ISOLATED TORNADOES IN THE MORE DISCRETE
CELLS. OTHERWISE...DAMAGING WIND POTENTIAL IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE
TO INCREASE...ASSOCIATED WITH EVAPORATIVE COOLING AND DOWNWARD
TRANSPORT OF MOMENTUM ASSOCIATED WITH A 60 KT DEEP LAYER MEAN
ENVIRONMENTAL FLOW REGIME NEAR THE MID/UPPER JET AXIS.

..KERR.. 06/05/2008
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214. Levi32
12:42 PM AKDT on June 05, 2008
Sorry for the double-post......stupid computer.

Yeah OSU I know, but it's still early in the day. We'll see how it goes.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26659

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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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