Daily to decadal modulation of jet variability

Tim Woollings, Elizabeth Barnes, Brian Hoskins, Young Oh Kwon, Robert W. Lee, Camille Li, Erica Madonna, Marie McGraw, Tess Parker, Regina Rodrigues, Clemens Spensberger, Keith Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The variance of a jet's position in latitude is found to be related to its average speed: when a jet becomes stronger, its variability in latitude decreases. This relationship is shown to hold for observed midlatitude jets around the world and also across a hierarchy of numerical models. North Atlantic jet variability is shown to be modulated on decadal time scales, with decades of a strong, steady jet being interspersed with decades of a weak, variable jet. These modulations are also related to variations in the basinwide occurrence of high-impact blocking events. A picture emerges of complex multidecadal jet variability in which recent decades do not appear unusual. An underlying barotropic mechanism is proposed to explain this behavior, related to the change in refractive properties of a jet as it strengthens, and the subsequent effect on the distribution of Rossby wave breaking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1297-1314
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Baroclinic models
  • Decadal variability
  • Jets
  • North Atlantic Oscillation

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