Sensitivity of the Latitude of the Westerly Jet Stream to Climate Forcing

Gang Chen, Pengfei Zhang, Jian Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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 of war 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019GL086563
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 28 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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