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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1464. TayTay
11:52 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
So the 2008 Hurricane season is a bust then ?

Yes, yes it is.
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1463. TheWeatherMan504
11:43 AM GMT on June 09, 2008

1462. Weather456 11:40 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1460. leftovers 7:35 AM AST on June 09, 2008
Am I wrong most of the Atlantic June storms spin up at the end of fronts or the troughs coming off of S America. MDR development is later in the season. So it really does not matter what happens out there.




I think he means the southeastern USA.
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1462. Weather456
7:39 AM AST on June 09, 2008
1460. leftovers 7:35 AM AST on June 09, 2008
Am I wrong most of the Atlantic June storms spin up at the end of fronts or the troughs coming off of S America. MDR development is later in the season. So it really does not matter what happens out there.
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1461. Weather456
7:36 AM AST on June 09, 2008
1457. MahFL 7:24 AM AST on June 09, 2008
So the 2008 Hurricane season is a bust then ?


We will not know until November 30 2008.

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1460. leftovers
11:30 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Am I wrong most of the Atlantic June storms spin up at the end of fronts or the troughs coming off of S America. MDR development is later in the season. So it really does not matter what happens out there.
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1459. cajunkid
6:31 AM CDT on June 09, 2008
GFS and European model (ecmwf) indicate a tropical wave/weak inverted trough will
move northwestward out of the Caribbean on Tuesday and reach the
northwestern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.
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1458. pottery
7:22 AM AST on June 09, 2008
Yeah, with any luck, Mah.
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1457. MahFL
11:22 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
So the 2008 Hurricane season is a bust then ?
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1456. Weather456
7:05 AM AST on June 09, 2008
Watching An Area Offshore Mexico

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1455. KoritheMan
10:08 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
conditions are hostile for tropical storm development in the MDR this morning and will be so for the next two weeks

You do realize it's impossible to predict with any reasonable degree of accuracy what shear is going to be like 2 weeks out, right? No offense or anything.

Oh wait, initially I read that as you saying shear will be unfavorable for the next 2 weeks. My bad. If you are talking about shear though, see what I said above.

I do agree that unfavorable conditions will be present for the next 2 weeks in the form of subsidence, due to the downward motion of the MJO.
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1454. stoormfury
9:21 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Morning
conditions are hostile for tropical storm development in the MDR this morning and will be so for the next two weeks, the caribbean is very moist but there is strong upper level westerly winds blowng across the caribbean and the tropical atl which precludes any teopical storm development. This is due to the strong ULL which is off the east coast of Florida. apart from ULL there is subsidence in the G/MEX and from the lesser antilles as far east as 40 deg west. there is a tropical wave at 44w a weak wave which should be in the islands by thursday.
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1453. STORMTTOP
5:23 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Hate to see it pick up Christy Alley on a binge ...
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1452. atmoaggie
5:11 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
For some reason the Amarillo radar was in clear air mode earlier.

Sully's right, here. The NWS radar site shows all of the clutter around the site...in the wrong VCP for nearby storms, although it claims to be in VCP 12, correct for the conditions. Currently set to pick up all of the birds, and over-resolve the t-storms, somehow.
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1450. oregonlogger
4:42 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
This blog entry begins with a flat statement that, according to new research, climate change is responsible for the jet stream moving northward. The penultimate sentence of the first paragraph states that this may not be entirely true. The final sentence notes that there is no actual evidence whatsoever that it is true to any degree at all.

Correlation is not causation. Over time, the jet stream moved north. Over the same time, the globe warmed somewhat. This does not show that the warming caused the jet stream to move. Nor that the moving jet stream caused global warming.
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1449. Skyepony (Mod)
4:28 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Saw a report for 4 1/2" hail from Amerillo, TX.
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1448. KoritheMan
4:29 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
not that it's entirely impossible to get formation with the downward pulse of the MJO...just extremely difficult.

If I remember right (correct me if I'm wrong), Felix formed during the downward pulse of the MJO.
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1447. yamil20
4:25 AM GMT on Junio 09, 2008
1446 yes,sad but true
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1446. auburn (Mod)
11:14 PM CDT on June 08, 2008
Some of us dont get any weather..some get to much
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1445. Skyepony (Mod)
4:14 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
I don't know man. Purple even from the big map view. Amerillo looks like it may get a severe tornado...
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1444. yamil20
4:10 AM GMT on Junio 09, 2008
OMG!! my prayers to the people in the amarillo area they are getting very severe weather right now!!
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1443. msphar
4:01 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Pretty good lookin shear in the MDR tonight.
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1442. Skyepony (Mod)
4:06 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
That was IA earlier where the radar was outta hand like that. Even worse. Looks like 3 tornados PA, IA & TX in the last 3 hrs. Biggest hail 2 3/4". Lotta wind damage reports.
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1441. sullivanweather
12:06 AM EDT on June 09, 2008
For some reason the Amarillo radar was in clear air mode earlier.



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1440. WhereIsTheStorm
4:05 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Everyone have a good night.
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1439. WhereIsTheStorm
3:53 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1431. GRDRATNAVARRE 3:08 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Does anybody have an opion about what administration takes over as far as natural disasters goes?


During a natural disaster the State Governor has the lead. If they feel they need the assistance, they ask the Federal Government, who send in FEMA.
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1438. Skyepony (Mod)
3:48 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
aggie~ Looks nasty on nexrad with some tornado vorticys. Saw some off the radar earlier with this system but pretty sure it was a differnt area.
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1437. GRDRATNAVARRE
3:37 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
qc, qc, anybody there?
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1436. atmoaggie
3:20 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
75 DBz all over Amarillo's radar. doesn't seem quite right. High reflectivities near the eastern edge of detection do not quite agree with the neighboring NEXRAD site, either. Hmmm. How, I wonder?

Link
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1435. GRDRATNAVARRE
3:13 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
I have to tell ya that I got to put in the monitors and com systems that you will see in the Florida State Emergency Operations Center, I'm very proud of that. I saw first hand the first exercise of the year and it was pretty good, the director, blasted where it needed to be and praised where it should be.
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1434. cchsweatherman
11:14 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Good night all! Got work from 1:30 to 6:30 tomorrow.
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1432. hahaguy
11:08 PM EDT on June 08, 2008
Well my name is paul skaggs lol

1431.
FEMA
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1431. GRDRATNAVARRE
3:05 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Does anybody have an opion about what administration takes over as far as natural disasters goes?
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1430. stormyeyes
3:04 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1425...I am supposed to talk to him later
tonight, if he's says I can tell you his
real life name, I will do so by email...
I would never post anyones info. without
asking them first...Stormyeyes
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1428. GRDRATNAVARRE
2:58 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
If you live in Florida you should always expect a hit, cost of parradise.
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1427. STORMTTOP
2:57 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Florida can expect 3 storms.
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1425. weatherfromFlorida
2:52 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
So, stormyeyes, quick question. What is stormkat's real life name?
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1424. GRDRATNAVARRE
2:44 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Good evening all, haven't had a chance to catch up, what's happening? Been working to get the Florida State EOC up. It's up, have to tell ya, the guys there are up to speed, watched the directer blast'em the other morning, it was reassuriing. Whatever comes our way this year, I'm confident that Florida will do OK.
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1422. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:36 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
g'even jfv
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1421. condesa
2:31 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
I don't know what's going on with the blog; format has totally changed, it looks weird.
Doe is have anthing thing to do with Stormy?
Speaking of stormy, we're getting pounded here right now- rain,lightening.
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1420. Skyepony (Mod)
2:25 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
condesa~ I hope you can see the rain total maps I posted for you.
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1419. stormyeyes
2:32 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1416...No, Stormkat picked me up on my way
home from working in CA., then we went to
Destin to me up with my friends...Stormeyes
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1417. stormyeyes
2:30 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1415...We had a good time,how about you...
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1416. CaneAddict
2:26 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
1404. stormyeyes 2:04 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
Can anyone on the blog tell me why ya'll
don't like Stormkat? He picked me up from
the airport in NO on my way home from working
in CA. then we went to Destin for the rest
of the weekend...He was a totally respectable
guy, he knows how to treat a girl that's for
sure...was just curious why no one here likes
him...Stormyeyes
Action: | Ignore User


Wow...you picked your self up from the airport?
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1415. STORMTTOP
2:26 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
I was in Destin this past weekend...
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1414. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
2:20 AM GMT on June 09, 2008
175 DAYS TO GO
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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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