Global Warming Moving Jet Streams Northward, Researchers Suspect

Numerous different researchers at different institutions have found that global warming is altering the nature and strength of the the jetstreams that move weather around the planet. At the Carnegie Institute, based at Stanford, Cristina Archer and Ken Caldeira looked at jetstream trends from the years l979-2001. (Some people have all the luck.) In a study published in the GRU last week, they write:

We found that, in general, the jet streams have risen in altitude and moved poleward in both hemispheres. In the northern hemisphere, the jet stream weakened. In the southern hemisphere, the sub-tropical jet weakend, whereas the polar jet strengthened…. Further observations and analysis are needed to confidently attribute the causes of these changes to anthropogenic climate change, natural variability, or some combination of the two.

Not too exciting, one might say. But Seth Borenstein, AP’s first-rate climate reporter, talks to the researchers and comes back with some good quotes.

The northern jet stream "is the dominant thing that creates weather
systems for the United States," said study co-author Ken Caldeira, a
climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in
Stanford, Calif. "Basically look south of where you are and that’s
probably a good guess of what your weather may be like in a few

I like this story because it’s factual without being hysterical. Maybe we should be thinking about moving north, if we don’t want to live in a climate like Mexico’s. Let’s be practical about it: Why not?

I also like the sharp graphic from Nicholas Short’s Water Planet explanation of the jetstream.

(h/t: Knight-Ridder Science Tracker)


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “Global Warming Moving Jet Streams Northward, Researchers Suspect

  1. Global warming could lead to higher rates of skin cancer by amplifying the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, scientists said.

    New evidence suggests that the same amount of sunshine becomes more likely to trigger cancer as temperature rises.


  2. Funny you should mention the sun’s rays. Went to fetch my old water bottle I had had on my mountain bike this afternoon and the top shattered in my hands. It was some kind of plastic and had been out in the sun a good deal and turned brittle and weak as a cracker. I have heard that UV intensity has increased in the 10-12% range in the last couple of decades, but I’m not sure if this intensifying is linked to global warming — I thought it was the thinning of the ozone layer.


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