skip to main content

Title: Enhanced jet stream waviness induced by suppressed tropical Pacific convection during boreal summer

Consensus on the cause of recent midlatitude circulation changes toward a wavier manner in the Northern Hemisphere has not been reached, albeit a number of studies collectively suggest that this phenomenon is driven by global warming and associated Arctic amplification. Here, through a fingerprint analysis of various global simulations and a tropical heating-imposed experiment, we suggest that the suppression of tropical convection along the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone induced by sea surface temperature (SST) cooling trends over the tropical Eastern Pacific contributed to the increased summertime midlatitude waviness in the past 40 years through the generation of a Rossby-wave-train propagating within the jet waveguide and the reduced north-south temperature gradient. This perspective indicates less of an influence from the Arctic amplification on the observed mid-latitude wave amplification than what was previously estimated. This study also emphasizes the need to better predict the tropical Pacific SST variability in order to project the summer jet waviness and consequent weather extremes.

more » « less
Award ID(s):
1903721 1744598
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The Southern Hemisphere summertime eddy-driven jet and storm tracks have shifted poleward over the recent few decades. In previous studies, explanations have mainly stressed the influence of external forcing in driving this trend. Here we examine the role of internal tropical SST variability in controlling the austral summer jet’s poleward migration, with a focus on interdecadal time scales. The role of external forcing and internal variability are isolated by using a hierarchy of Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1) simulations, including the pre-industrial control, large ensemble, and pacemaker runs. Model simulations suggest that in the early twenty-first century, both external forcing and internal tropical Pacific SST variability are important in driving a positive southern annular mode (SAM) phase and a poleward migration of the eddy-driven jet. Tropical Pacific SST variability, associated with the negative phase of the interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO), acts to shift the jet poleward over the southern Indian and southwestern Pacific Oceans and intensify the jet in the southeastern Pacific basin, while external forcing drives a significant poleward jet shift in the South Atlantic basin. In response to both external forcing and decadal Pacific SST variability, the transient eddy momentum flux convergence belt in the middle latitudes experiences a poleward migration due to the enhanced meridional temperature gradient, leading to a zonally symmetric southward migration of the eddy-driven jet. This mechanism distinguishes the influence of the IPO on the midlatitude circulation from the dynamical impact of ENSO, with the latter mainly promoting the subtropical wave-breaking critical latitude poleward and pushing the midlatitude jet to higher latitudes. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) is used to study the variability of Earth’s atmospheric circulation during the past 45 years, a time of considerable climate change. Using global AAM, two interdecadal states are defined covering the periods 1977–98 (hereinafter P1) and 1999–2022 (P2). Global AAM decreased from P1 to P2 and was accompanied by weakened subtropical jet streams in both hemispheres, strong convection around the northern Maritime Continent, and a strengthened sea surface temperature (SST) gradient across the tropical Pacific Ocean. The period differences project onto 1) internal interdecadal Pacific variability (IPV), 2) a postulated transient ocean thermostat response to greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions, and 3) circulation anomalies related to the ozone hole. During 1977–2023, the first two processes are forcing the climate toward larger Pacific Ocean SST gradients and a poleward expansion of the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP), especially into the Northern Hemisphere. The ozone hole produces its own distinct pattern of anomalies in the Southern Hemisphere that tend to become persistent in the early 1990s. The zonal and vertical mean AAM variations during P1 have frequent westerly wind anomalies between 40°N and 40°S with poleward propagation on interannual time scales. During P2, the circulation is dominated by subtropical easterly wind anomalies, poleward-shifted jets, and weaker propagation. Locally, the zonal mean anomalies manifest as midlatitude ridges that lead to continental droughts. Case studies illustrate the weakened subtropical jet streams of P2 and examine the factors behind a transition to La Niña in early 2020 that maintains the P2 pattern.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Variability in the position and strength of the subtropical jet (STJ) and polar front jet (PFJ) streams has important implications for global and regional climate. Previous studies have related the position and strength of the STJ to tropical thermodynamic processes, whereas the position and strength of the PFJ are more associated with midlatitude eddies. These conclusions have largely resulted from studies using idealized models. In this study, ERA‐Interim reanalysis and CMIP6 global climate models are used to examine month‐to‐month and interannual variability of the wintertime Northern Hemisphere (NH) STJ and PFJ. This study particularly focuses on the regional characteristics of the jet variability, extending previous studies on zonal‐mean jet streams. Consistent with idealized modeling studies, a close relationship is found between tropical outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) and the STJ and between midlatitude lower tropospheric temperature gradients and the PFJ. Variations of both jets are also linked to well‐known teleconnection patterns. Variations in tropical convection over the Pacific Ocean are associated with variations of the NH STJ at most longitudes, with different phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) associated with the shift and strengthening of the STJ in different regions. CMIP6 models generally capture these relationships, but the models’ tropical convection is often displaced westward when compared to observations, reflecting a climatological bias in OLR in the western tropical Pacific Ocean in many models. The displaced tropical convection in models excites different paths of Rossby wave propagation, resulting in different ENSO teleconnections on the STJ over North America and Europe.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    While a large latitudinal displacement of the westerly jet brings about disproportionate socioeconomic impacts over Northern Hemisphere midlatitude continents, it is not well understood as to whether the winter circulation will become wavier or less in response to climate change. Here, using observations and large ensembles of climate models, we show that changes in atmospheric waviness can be estimated from the optimal structures of the westerly jet for wavier circulation, which are obtained from an advection‐diffusion model. Thus, the changes in westerly jet structure in climate models under climate change provide a physical constraint on changes in atmospheric waviness, indicating that the North Atlantic wave activity will experience a robust decline in a warmer climate, while future North Pacific wave activity is obscured by model uncertainty rather than internal variability. These findings highlight the changes to jet stream structure as a constraint for regional circulation waviness in a changing climate.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    The influence of coupled model sea surface temperature (SST) climatological biases and SST projections on daily convection over the Intra‐American Seas (IAS) during the May–November rainy season are examined by clustering (k − means) daily OLR anomalies in ECHAM5 atmospheric global climate model (AGCM) experiments. The AGCM is first forced by 1980–2005 observed SSTs (GOGA), then with climatological, multi‐model mean monthly climatological SST bias from 31 CMIP5 coupled models (HIST) and projected SST changes for 2040–2059 (PROJ) and 2080–2099 (PROJ2) imposed on top of observed values. A typology of seven recurrent convection regimes is identified and consists of three dry and four wet regimes, including three regimes characterized by tropical‐midlatitude interactions between surface convection cells across the IAS and Rossby wave in the upper‐troposphere, and a regime of broad wettening typical of the ITCZ. Compared to an earlier observational study, all seven regimes are reasonably well reproduced in the HIST runs. However, the latter exhibit drier dry regimes, a less wet ITCZ‐like wet regime and a southeastward shift of convective anomalies developing across the IAS in the three other regimes, all result in a drier simulated IAS climate compared to GOGA. ECHAM5 projection runs for PROJ and PROJ2 are both characterized by the inhibition of the broad ITCZ‐like wet regime, indicating a significant trend towards more frequent dry weather. Meanwhile, convection anomalies related to tropical‐midlatitude interactions are shifted further east of the Caribbean as lead increases. These results suggest more frequent and intense extreme rainfall over the tropical Atlantic and the southeast US, while parts of the Caribbean are projected to experience drier climate. The projected drying, however, is of the same order of magnitude as results from historical SST biases, suggesting that the latter need to be considered in model projections, which might underestimate future IAS drying.

    more » « less