Sensitivity of the latitude of the westerly jet stream to climate forcing

Published in Geophysical Research Letters, 2020

Recommended citation: Chen, Gang, Pengfei Zhang and Jian Lu, 2020: Sensitivity of the latitude of the westerly jet stream to climate forcing, Geophysical Research Letters, e2019GL086563.

ABSTRACT: The latitude of the westerly jet stream is influenced by a variety of climate forcings, but their effects on the jet latitude often manifest as a tug ofwar between tropical forcing (e.g., tropical upper-tropospheric warming) and polar forcing (e.g., Antarctic stratospheric cooling or Arctic amplification). Here we present a unified forcing-feedback framework relating different climate forcings to their forced jet changes, in which the interactions between the westerly jet and synoptic eddies are synthesized by a zonal advection feedback, analogous to the feedback framework for assessing climate sensitivity. This framework is supported by a prototype feedback analysis in the atmospheric dynamical core of a climate model with diverse thermal and mechanical forcings. Our analysis indicates that the latitude of a westerly jet is most sensitive to the climate change-induced jet speed changes near the tropopause. The equatorward jet shift also displays a larger deviation from linearity than the poleward counterpart.

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