A battle for the jet stream is raging above our heads

The northern hemisphere jet stream crossing Cape Breton Island in the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada.
NASA/Wikimedia Commons

Tim Woollings, University of Oxford

When prolonged periods of severe weather strike, two things often get the blame these days: climate change and the jet stream. Many have expressed concerns that the rapidly melting Arctic is now disturbing the jet stream, bringing more frequent bouts of wild weather. But potentially even more powerful changes are afoot in the tropics – and the consequences could be severe.

The northern hemisphere’s jet stream is a current of fast-moving air encircling the globe from west to east in the middle latitudes – the zone between the baking tropics and the freezing Arctic. The strongest winds are about ten kilometres high, near the altitudes at which planes fly, but the bottom of the jet can reach all the way down to the ground, forming the prevailing westerly winds familiar to many. The southern hemisphere’s counterpart is what gives rise to the Roaring Forties – similarly treacherous winds between latitudes 40° and 50°.

The jet forms a relatively sharp dividing line between the warm tropical and cold polar air masses. The strongest winds are concentrated in a band several hundred kilometres wide. But this band is not fixed. It meanders and snakes its way around the globe, sometimes touching the edge of the tropics and at other times scraping the polar regions

In November 2019 (top), the jet shifted southwards from its usual position (bottom), leaving the UK on the cusp of its cold side, where storms often intensify.
ESRL/NOAA, CC BY

As a result, the jet can have a wide array of impacts across the hemisphere. If it passes over your location, expect to be repeatedly bombarded by the whirling storms that are carried along by it. As a recent example, the severe flooding in the North of England in November 2019 arose in part from a shift of the jet, which put the UK right in the middle of a region where storms tend to grow.

If the jet shifts to pass north of you, you’ll find yourself under the warm, dry zone of the atmosphere which lies south of the jet. This brings generally settled and pleasant weather in summer, but can set the scene for droughts and heatwaves. And if the jet moves south instead, you’ll be on its cold polar side, so you’d better hope this doesn’t happen too much during winter.

Weather worries

The jet has always varied – and has always affected our weather patterns. But now climate change is affecting our weather too. As I explore in my latest book, it’s when the wanderings of the jet and the hand of climate change add up that we get record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts – but not freezes.

The coldest weeks of any given winter will occur when the jet brings masses of cold air directly from the polar regions. But severe though this may feel, records show that similar events in past decades were even colder than they are now. While the jet is largely doing the same as it always has, the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.

The flip side, of course, is that when the jet moves north in summer, bringing warm air from the south, we often have to endure temperatures beyond anything in living memory.

Mount Everest (top middle) is so high that it grazes the jet stream, blowing snow off its peak.
NASA

It is clear and well understood how climate change and the jet can combine like this to cause truly extreme weather events. But whether climate change is directly changing the jet’s behaviour is a much harder question to answer.

Some have suggested that the rapidly warming Arctic is weakening the jet, by reducing the temperature contrast between the tropical and polar air to either side of it. As a result, the jet meanders more to the north and south, and these meanders can remain fixed over one location for longer – as happened when the “Beast from the East” placed much of Northern Europe under a bitter chill.

There are certainly some interesting ideas here, but many still do not find the logic compelling, and more convincing evidence from observations and computer models will be needed for these theories to become widely accepted.

Scientists are however increasingly confident that important changes are afoot in the tropics. Driven by the vast quantities of energy pouring in from the Sun directly overhead, these are the great powerhouses of Earth’s climate. Indeed, the power of the tropics is evident in the worldwide weather disruption caused by El Niño events – subtle increases or decreases in temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, that in turn disturb the jet stream.

file-20191105-88368-yn9lp9

If El Niño causes equatorial Pacific Ocean temperatures to warm, the jet stream brings stormier weather in winter.
climate.gov

Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world. At least partly because of this, the tropical regions of the atmosphere have been widening, expanding ever so slightly away from the equator, and impinging more on the jet stream.

Tug of war

We are in the early days of a great battle in the air above our heads between the Arctic and the tropics, for the future of the jet stream. At best, there might be a stalemate, leaving the jet stream distorted but otherwise unmoved.

However, if one of the competitors outweighs the other, regional climate patterns could be severely altered as the climate zones shift along with the jet. It’s too early to say with any confidence which of these will win out, but many computer models predict the jet will shift a little towards the pole, consistent with a greater influence of the tropics.

In this case, we should expect to see the warm, dry regions at the edge of the tropics extend a little further out from the equator. The strongest impacts of this would likely be felt in regions such as the Mediterranean, which are already highly sensitive to fluctuations in rainfall. A northward jet shift would act to steer much needed rainstorms towards central Europe instead, leaving the Mediterranean at greater risk of drought.

So, the jet may not become more erratic as the Arctic warms, but it may well change profoundly. And one thing is clear: the stress of increased temperatures and altered rainfall patterns from our destabilising climate will leave us even more vulnerable to the weather patterns brought by the whim of the wandering jet stream.


Click here to subscribe to our climate action newsletter. Climate change is inevitable. Our response to it isn’t.The Conversation

Tim Woollings, Associate Professor in Physical Climate Science, University of Oxford

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

HT/TonyN

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143 thoughts on “A battle for the jet stream is raging above our heads

  1. Please send the jet stream, complete with lots of rain to Australia. I remember such a jetstream around 1976 bringing massive rain throughout Australia. We need these massive rains again, in spite of the inevitable floods that always occur when the rains eventually come.

    • H.T., that was around the time the Midwest and Northeast states were experiencing the “Coming Ice Age” that the jabbering jackasses aka the chattering class clowns were on about.

      Brutal winters turned to warming thanks to a shifting jet stream and those same clowns were bought by the politically classes, with taxpayer money it is important to add, to blame the warm up from said shifting winds to Da, dah, daahh, daaahhhh! MAN MADE Global Warming!

      “The Science is settled, the debate is over. We are all going to die. Give us your liberties, give us your money, give us CONTROL”

  2. Global temperatures have not risen significantly enough, or rapidly enough, to affect the jet stream. And I believe we are on the cusp of a cooling period. This is all just more gratuitous hand-wringing over processes humans have no hand in, and can never control.

    • What BS. The article not Brian356. First, how do you know that the jet stream didn’t change and cause “the rapidly warming artic” or the world for that matter. Which one is cause and which one is effect?

      • Yes, the jet stream was only discovered less than 100 years ago and not widely studied until many years after that.

        Further, to invoke the rapidly melting Arctic in November as a cause is loony.

        • Perhaps, but if you examine the average wind speed velocity of the unladen African Sparrow over the last 100 years, it is quite evident that they are now traveling faster. This of course would be due to the increased temperatures that are clearly the fault of humans.

          And now, for something completely different….

          It is amazing how correlations can now substitute for causation without criticism.

      • Yup. Cause and effect.

        While some jet-stream changes certainly often come before, and somewhat predict, weather events below, the jet streams are also influenced by what happens below (and above).

        It is the curse of all climate modellers that when they reach a sufficient level of understanding, they will suddenly realise that they actually know close to nothing about how the climate really works.

        It is much more comforting to just keep drinking the kool aid and accepting the grant money.

        • “… and computer models will be needed for these theories to become widely accepted.”

          Garbage In – Gospel Out?????

      • Yes, Irongonaut. It’s models all the way down. The author says, “Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world. ” But, if he had taken the time to read just the abstract of the article he linked to, he would have found models, models, models. And, they admit that they had to rejigger the observations & models until they found a data set that gave them what they are looking for.

        The truth is that we have no way of knowing whether the tropical troposphere is warming, because the models can be “validated” only by lying about the match with observations.

        The truth is that climate varies. Always has, always will. If you want to prove your forgone conclusion that humans are causing it by burning fossil fuel, then you’ll need to use science, not lies and opinion.

    • I’ve been reading climate skeptic prophesies of ‘cooling’ for well over a decade now. but there is absolutely no evidence of any cooling, is there?

      (Even with current solar activity levels)

      • Prophecies of a cooling climate serve to balance out the failed prophecies of warming-doom spewed over the same time period with with even less veracity. (^_^)

        And where is the evidence of any serious warming again?

      • 1) Some are calling for cooling, others aren’t. Unlike the warmistas, us skeptics are a diverse bunch with many and varied opinions.
        2) Every prediction I have seen has been for cooling in the future, I don’t believe anyone was calling for it to have started in the past.
        3) If we ever get a big La Nina, you’ll see plenty of cooling.

      • Griff the sun changed in 1994. Prior to 1994 planetary temperature closely tracked GCR. In 1994 there was a step change in cloud cover (reduction) that correlates with the post 1994 warming.

        It is the 1994 solar change that caused the step change in clouds. We are missing a major solar parameter that causes climate change and other changes on the planet.

        CO2 cannot cause a step change in clouds.

        There is a recent analysis that used a standard analysis technique to disprove AGW.

        The temperature data since 1850 has analyzed using a Fast Fourier Transform. This mathematical technique shows if the temperature signal is changing periodically and provides the energy at each frequency.

        All most all of the temperature changes and say 90% of the energy in the temperature changes are periodic.

        What is also interesting is the southern hemisphere (Antarctic peninsula) ice core data is changing with the same periodicity as the Northern hemisphere which indicates the increase in atmospheric CO2 is not forcing the planet’s climate.

        The same Fast Fourier analysis was done with solar wind changes. The solar wind is changing with the same periodicity as the planetary temperature.

        Griff the waiting is over. 0.3C cooling in the next three months.

        The IPCC science is 100% incorrect. There is unequivocal observational evidence that shows humans are responsible for less than 5% of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2. Atmospheric CO2 is tracking planetary temperature not anthropogenic CO2. This is a game changer as its means there is no ocean acidification issue and kills AGW and CAGW.

        We can burn hydrocarbons and coal with no risk of atmospheric changes.

        • When you consider that human activity only contributes 3% of the CO2 that enters the atmosphere each year, it is impossible that human activity can have any appreciable effect on anything. When you can explain how 5 degrees of warming is going to melt the continent of Antarctica, where the AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE IS 59 degrees BELOW ZERO F then you may get a second look.

      • “there is absolutely no evidence of any cooling, is there?”

        Are you being willfully blind, Griff? I ask because it is so easy to find this answer.

        The UAH global satellite chart shows the global temperatures have cooled 0.4C over the last three years since Feb. 2016. So the answer to your question is, yes, there is evidence of cooling.

        I put a link to the UAH chart in another post on this thread in case you are having trouble finding it.

      • What “climate skeptic” does even mean?

        If you mean a skeptic of the only religion that claims to be able to control climate – Btw if you don’t know the religion you belong = Politics-

        I don’t have any prophesies.
        We don’t know enough of climate.

        Btw Northern hemisphere ice cover is the 5th bigger since measure in 1967.
        Which shows what ridiculous level is our knowledge. And snow is some effect we know.

      • The solar institute in Germany has studied the solar cycle changes from the first observations on. They’ve developed models of the solar magnetic flux changes that cause the 11 year solar cycle.
        There predictions(not projections) are a bit dire. The predict the current northern hemisphere cooling to continue for the last half of the solar cycle and affect the first half the following cycle.
        They predict the global temperature will drop .7°C during that time, compared to an estimate 85° drop during the little ice age.

        I believe this is the third winter in a row with a record number of temperature LOWS in the northern hemisphere, regardles of what temperature highs are doing. In places with the most numerous temperature measuring points the Urban Heat Island effect explains most of the warming, compared to the GHCN,

    • Excerpt from the article:
      “The coldest weeks of any given winter will occur when the jet brings masses of cold air directly from the polar regions. But severe though this may feel, records show that similar events in past decades were even colder than they are now. While the jet is largely doing the same as it always has, the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.”

      I stopped reading right there – this is the point when multitudes of minions start chanting “Mann-made Global Warming! Mann-made Global Warming!”, drowning out all semblance of rational thought.

      • That part irritated me too. Two weeks ago we set absolute cold records in most of the midwest. Both record cold highs and record lows. Last Feb we set absolute record low temps, for the date, for the month and lowest ever recorded for the area.

        • It sucks when glorious theoretical predictions (e.g., invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder) are beaten by harsh reality.

      • I persevered and got further down the page.
        Statements declaring the exact opposite of observed behavior tend to raise eyebrows. One of our statistical experts might determine how so many blatant errors could be included in just one article.
        Others might simply note that the author is a professor of Climate Science.
        Sure.

        • The University of Oxford’s Climate Science Department is well known to be warmist. As an Oxford physics alumnus, I have taken to task the Professor of Physics for including skepticalscience.com in its recommended websites list being a site “Examining Global Warming Skepticism” – riiiight!

      • Right you are, Allan M,

        Excerpt from the article:
        the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.

        “YUP”, …… human emitted greenhouse gasses have about as much effect on the Jet Stream …… as human emitted fluctuance does on a hurricane.

      • Hey, that’s how far I got. It has only been two weeks since the last RECORD BREAKING cold snap. How “just a bit milder” cold snaps cause record cold is beyond me, so why keep reading.

      • Well, you stopped just before the author got something dead right in the next paragraph:

        “The flip side, of course, is that when the jet moves north in summer, bringing warm air from the south, we often have to endure temperatures beyond anything in living memory.”

        For each of the ten Canadian provinces, the most recent all-time maximum was set in 1941. That’s before any living members of my family were born, so we can’t remember it.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extreme_temperatures_in_Canada

      • Allan–unfortunately I kept reading until this gem, “our destabilising climate” and I wish I’d stopped reading at your point! As it the climate has been so stable for the million years!

      • Agree.
        This fellow writing an article about polar air, getting his facts wrong about record recent cold and then saying, “Scientists are however increasingly confident that important changes are afoot in the tropics. Driven by the vast quantities of energy pouring in from the Sun directly overhead, these are the great powerhouses of Earth’s climate….” What?
        For one thing, the Earth is not flat and the Sun is not directly overhead. For another, there is nothing new about the Sun heating the tropics. Then, he ignores, denies or is unaware of the Grand Solar Minimum and the fact that “vast quantities of the Sun’s energy” is less, not greater than normal and all that puts this fellow firmly in the Land of the Absurd, the Ignorant and/or the Liar.
        I’ve been wondering how the Alarmists were going to blame Global Cooling on CO2. If this is their trial balloon in this effort, it is an epic fail.

    • Of course — it’s from a website called “TheConversation”. About the same intelligence level as TheTalk and TheSpeech.

      • The Conversation
        “A web site where monologues with an approved viewpoint on “Climate Change” are allowed.”

  3. You notice the characteristic emotional rhetorical flourishes which have no place in a scientific account, even a popular one.

    the Roaring Forties – similarly treacherous winds between latitudes 40° and 50°.

    Nothing ‘treacherous’ about them. A difficult and dangerous passage round the Horn for sailing boats, because of the high seas and strong winds. Moitissier has a wonderful account of being at the helm and managing his way over the high waves, something his wife felt unable to master. But not ‘treacherous’.

    Similarly we have altered rainfall patterns from our destabilising climate

    There is no reason to think our climate is doing anything that can reasonably be described as ‘destablizing’. Whatever that word means. Unless its just a rhetorical attempt to make everyone worry? It implies that extremes of something in the climate are getting larger, compared to a relatively stable past. There is no reason to think this is so.

    Yes, the climate varies and is varying. But look at UK rainfall records, UK temperatures. Nothing going on other than the usual fluctuations. There have been cold and warm summers and winters, and wet and dry summers and winters, and will be in future. But there is nothing out of the ordinary on either count in recent years.

    Scientists need to get away from the emotional rhetoric and alarmism, and confine themselves to carefully reporting what is actually happening. This overwrought hand-wringing does not add to anyone’s understanding of anything.

    • Key phrase in this arti le is “beyond anything in living memory.* Read the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and extreme weather is described by the phrase” which no man could remember “. Just because nobody can remember it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or was worse. I” know” the Winter of 1947vwaz worse than 1962-3 not because I remember but because my mother told me, but that doesn’t make it so. I also know we don’t have anything like enough or long enough records other than to say worst with our very limited knowledge.

      • There wasn’t a helluva a lot to choose between 1947 and 1963 meteorologically speaking. The big difference was in how we were equipped socially, psychologically, technologically, to handle them.

        In 1947 I was six and remember snow drifts nearly up to the tops of the telegraph poles and my aunt being snowed out and unable to get home from work. In 1963 I drove 250 miles to my grandfather’s funeral and thought nothing of it though I would have given anything for a screen washer!

        It wasn’t till later that I realised that ‘63 had been as bad as ‘47! 1981 was pretty grim as well as was ‘97. Anyone see a pattern there?

        • It is pretty simple our memories only remember the extraordinary and combine that with the fact that a harse winter in West Europa is rare you get the notion that we just don’t get hard winters anymore. Up until it arrives and you will say the phrase ‘this is the worst we can remember’ or ‘I haven’t seen anything like it’. Meanwhile it is just a winter like those before. Also 1 degree does not alter the jet stream. Was it not NASA that told us the top of the atmoshpere was cooling down during this solar minimum?

        • Newminster,
          June 16 1941 was the day I first gazed at surroundings that intrigued me from 15 years later for evermore. At age 6 I attended the central school in Mackay, Queensland, the town where most of my life had been lived. Not before then nor after, was I ever able to look back and claim that weather one year was notably different to any other, except for an early 1950s cyclone at Townsville. These alleged existential threats from weather change are too minor to be noted. The official temperature record in Australia is being adjusted beyond justifiable scientific reason. Geoff S

      • In the 90s the Montreal Gazette had a “Style Guide” for writers. It defined “… in recent memory.” as “I’m too lazy to look it up”. Since hearing about this, I have always replaced such phrases with the latter definition, while I am reading it.
        In this case I would replace “beyond anything in living memory.” as “I can’t remember it”.

  4. I have been interested in the vagaries of the jet stream for a while, as a kiteboarder, surfer etc. I am always looking at different weather phenomenon that might make for a change…every time I think I start to get the hang of it…it does something unexpected and so have given up on pseudo forecasting for laughs. I am vastly superior to any global warming scientist in this regard however, because I don’t use the dartboard or pixie dust to formulate my ideas.
    Are you guys aware of the “World Wind Map?” Google that and click the earth icon on the left of screen you can look at wind speeds at different altitudes inc. the jet stream otherwise it is functionally similar to Google Earth.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-131.48,35.63,266
    Cheers all.

    • It gives brilliant depictions of our world: fully interactive.
      Click ‘earth’ (bottom left) for menu – (Click ‘earth’ to close menu)
      for jet streams go onto – height – 250

      For full instruction info, see ‘about’ (bottom left)
      have many happy hrs (:-))

  5. “Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world. ”

    Is that a new “hot spot” from ‘”de profundis models” zomby attack ?

  6. A woolly article from a woolly man. It started with a well written, albeit simplified for his audience, description of the jet stream but then meandered off into AGW fantasy.
    “We are in the early days of a great battle in the air above our heads between the Arctic and the tropics” In other words “what I am writing about is in my imagination based on models – it hasn’t happened yet but, um, I’m sure it will”.
    The only evidence noted was “Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world.” Really? By how much and what does it matter anyway? Where is the data, how long does it go back with any degree of accuracy and how do you infer the supposed effects on the jet streams?
    Colour me unconvinced.

    • I read this and my first thought was wouldn’t more heat at higher altitudes mean that more “heat” was being radiated to space? The only other conclusion would be that the “heat” was falling back to the surface thereby raising surface temperatures.

  7. Tim Woollings has given much thought and research to the jet stream, and kudos for his work. Nevertheless he hangs his argument for human activity being the primary cause of global warming on very thin threads. (Make no mistake, that is the underlying theme of this paper. Without dropping blame on mankind for its misdeeds, this would just be another well done piece on the meanderings of the jet stream influenced by Arctic and tropical inputs.) In the hyperlinked papers he relies on Vogel et. al. to reinforce his feelings that all global warming is anthropogenic is “…an absolute certainty,” though Vogel’s paper relies only on the same hackneyed models that, for example, ignore the input of the sun except for a short 27 year period.) About eleven paragraphs into his paper Mr. Woollings admits in quite a dramatic way that the sun supplies tremendous warming to the tropics. With no human intervention. I applaud his courage for making this admission in plain sight.

    • Key phrase in this arti le is “beyond anything in living memory.* Read the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and extreme weather is described by the phrase” which no man could remember “. Just because nobody can remember it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or was worse. I” know” the Winter of 1947vwaz worse than 1962-3 not because I remember but because my mother told me, but that doesn’t make it so. I also know we don’t have anything like enough or long enough records other than to say worst with our very limited knowledge.

    • Courage? What courage? After all the emotional twaddle? Sorry this is unacceptable. I wonder why this site even prints this garbage without a big black warning over it!

      • Anthony has stated that he will print articles from both sides. And kudos to him for doing something most alarmist sites refuse to.

        The smart folk at this site make short work of nonsense.

        • In order to more accurately reflect the editorial practices of The Conversation, I think they should change their name to The Monologue.

  8. … we get record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts – but not freezes.

    Oh yeah? We’ve just experienced a record freeze. link

    • Record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts = climate change; record breaking freezes = weather. I thought that had been well established. You must accept the fiction or be re-educated.

  9. I suppose it’s a good thing to give these people a platform so that their nutty views
    can be scrutinised and criticised…but don’t we get enough of this kind of gobbledygook
    from the Mainstream Media?

  10. I recall a day in the UK Autumn 1948. I ride a bicycle some 10 miles to see a circus. At 6pm it was a lovely sunny day, at 8pm in the circus it was raining, by 10pm on leaving it was snowing. .

    Back then we called it Weather.

    MJE VK5ELL

    • Michael

      I live in england, and the weather is still the same lol. Even the weather reports are wrong day by day, the other day they said no rain at all, so I did my washing and put it out to dry, but then it rained on and of for a hour or so

    • I remember 10th February 1990 very vividly. I was working in Wengen, Switzerland in a most unusual winter. That Saturday, the temperature recorded at 1600m in Muerren in mid afternoon was +23C.

      By Sunday morning it was snowing hard and the temperature at 1274m in Wengen was -1C.

      That is a 24C change in little over 12hrs.

  11. This writer needs to go back to ‘The scientific method 101’ after blethering nonsense that computer models can provide ‘convincing evidence’.

    Computer models NEVER provide convincing evidence. At most, they provide TESTABLE PREDICTIONS which must be confirmed or refuted by experimental measurement.

    It is a measure of the total collapse of the scientific method in climate fields that this unreconstructed drivel was allowed to be published.

    Computer models can predict whatever you want them to predict. End of story.

  12. Tropic altitudes warming more quickly than the rest of the planet? The supposed evidence for this statement was to a paper comparing a new computer model to existing tropospheric temperatures and finding good agreement at low and mid level and bad agreement in the upper troposphere. ie, it says no such thing.

    • There seems to be a lot of backward thinking in this article, such as “climate change is affecting our weather”. That’s not how it works…

  13. Hmmm, lots of posts picking off various snippets to take pot shots at. Here are two candidates:

    many computer models predict the jet will shift a little towards the pole,

    When have computer models been correct?

    And one thing is clear: the stress of increased temperatures and altered rainfall patterns from our destabilising climate

    Unsubstantiated assertions if ever there were any.

  14. There is a hole in the article. Low Sun activity already caused atmosfere contraction and jet streams change their positions.

  15. I thought it was supposed to be La Ninas that bring about wilder weather, stronger hurricanes etc. rather than El Ninos?

  16. The jet streams in the northern and southern hemispheres are real. However, with all our knowledge of weather and climate and ability to produce climate models using computers, we are unable to produce models that accurately chart the jet streams and their movements – and perhaps never will?

    It is stunning how confident the climate alarmists are about our demise because of carbon dioxide. They are convinced they know all that matters about the most important aspects of climate science, when in fact their inability and ignorance is so obvious when it comes to the complexities of climate and weather.

    • If they get a model to accurately chart jet streams, it could be used to get rich in the casino, because it would obviously be able to predict completely random events.

      I hope to get an advanced copy of the successful model so I can pad my retirement account properly to prepare for the coming Armageddon.

  17. So climate change is causing the het streams to be “messy”… What was the weather like on earth when co2 levels were much higher? Or when the artic didn’t have as much ice?

  18. It seems as though Professor Woollings spends his time playing the latest climate computer games rather than analysing climate time series.

    Analysis of UAH satellite lower troposphere temperature relative to CO2 concentration from stations around the globe show that temperature is independent of the CO2 concentration. It also shows that temperature determines the rate of generation of atmospheric CO2. The connection is so definite that the Fourier spectrum of the annual rate of change of CO2 exhibits peaks defining the periodicities of the Earth, Moon and planets within the Solar System as they effect the Earth’s temperature even down to the (perhaps anomalistic) period of the Moon.

    Also overlooked is the fact that the UAH temperatures show rates of change of temperature for the Arctic – 0.26, Tropics – 0.12 and Antarctic – 0.01degrees per decade. How is this possible? The much greater temperature in the Tropics should be causing far more Greenhouse warming than either of the Poles, if it exists. The cold temperature in the Arctic cannot produce enough energy from a Greenhouse Effect to cause greater warming than in the Tropics.

  19. The “rapidly melting Arctic”. Erm? Wadhamystical garbage. Then we have “the rapidly warming Arctic”. More Wadhamysticism, infused with more artifact than fact. Much of the so-called warming in the Arctic has more to do with temperature records being skewed upwards by poorly-sited stations. In addition, there is the convenient, yet completely pseudoscientific implication that “the warming” in the Arctic is causing the “rapidly melting ice”. No, just no. Although there has been a retreat of sea ice levels, that retreat has pretty much stopped. And any melting of the ice cap itself has merely continued its same boring pace, begun since the recovery from the LIA.
    Whatever actual science Wooly contributes wrt the jet stream is tainted by his Alarmist views.

    • No discussion of Arctic warming or ice melting is complete without a discussion of the AMO and the natural variations it has always produced in the Arctic.

      • Here’s the AMO chart:

        https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/tsgcos.corr_.81.159.104.45.247.15.34.31.png

        Note how the pattern resembles the US surface temperature chart (before bastardization), with the 1930’s showing to be as warm as the present day, and it also shows similar cooling phases around 1910 and around the 1970, when some climate scientists were worrying about the Earth entering a new Ice Age. All other unmodified surface temperaure charts (before Climategate) show the very same profile, i.e., the 1930’s were as warm as the present day, which means there is no unprecedented warmth today caused by CO2, which means we have nothing to worry about with regard to CO2. Fraudulent, bastardized Hockey Stick charts do not show the warmth of the 1930’s nor the chill of the 1970’s. This was done to make it appear that current-day temperatures are hotter than they have been in human history because of CO2. But the unmodified charts put the lie to that claim.

        The US Surface Temperature chart (Hansen 1999):

        https://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/uhcnh2.gif

        • Yes! The pattern of the AMO chart even resembles global temperatures, as is revealed below in your posting of the satellite temperatures. The satellite record is not old enough to include a complete cycle of the AMO, but what we have does corresponds very nicely.

          If the AMO and natural variability have a big role in global temperature, and CO2 does not, we should see the beginning of global cooling in the 2020’s. Obviously, there is a lot of variability in year to year temperatures with the ENSO cycle, but the general trend over the next 10 to 15 years should be down. If not, I may become a little more lukewarm, but it would take a lot more warming for me to believe in a climate crisis due to manmade warming!

          Warmer has always been better for life. Why does society suddenly accept that a modest warming will be a catastrophe? It boggles!

    • Your ‘parody’ post of 9 years ago would now be rejected by mainstream media as being far too conservative to be worth printing! There isn’t nearly enough ‘certainty-of-doom’ in your article.

      The climate hasn’t changed in 9 years, but we are in the midst of a journalism crisis of epic proportions; wreaking havoc and destruction all around the planet!

  20. “Some have suggested that the rapidly warming Arctic is weakening the jet, by reducing the temperature contrast between the tropical and polar air to either side of it. As a result, the jet meanders more to the north and south,…”

    False! Every spring/summer the temperature contrast between the pole and the equator reduces, and it does not result in the jet stream meandering more north and south. The jet weakens and retreats to the pole with less meandering. The ‘meandering’ argument, like ‘the oceans ate my AGW’ argument, are derived solely from the need to support the failing climate crisis theory, and not from observations and atmospheric physics.

    “There are certainly some interesting ideas here, but many still do not find the logic compelling, and more convincing evidence from observations and computer models will be needed…”

    Computer models are not evidence, period! Computer models do not support a theory. They are products of the theory! The only scientific value computer climate models have is in determining how the current theory is wrong by comparing the model results to reality. They are not being used for that purpose now. The anti-science crowd currently running mainstream climate science is trying to use the models to prove that reality is wrong!

    The article is obviously written by an adult with a good command of propaganda techniques, but the science in the article is at a high school level. I would not be surprised if it was written by a journalist, whose science education terminated in their teens, but this is appalling coming from an associate professor of Physical Climate Science at Oxford!

  21. From the article: “Many have expressed concerns that the rapidly melting Arctic is now disturbing the jet stream”

    What rapidly melting arctic ice? Arctic ice is not melting rapidly. This is an unproven claim which the author apparently takes as fact, demonstrating the author’s ignorance of the subject.

  22. From the article: “The strongest winds are concentrated in a band several hundred kilometres wide. But this band is not fixed. It meanders and snakes its way around the globe, sometimes touching the edge of the tropics and at other times scraping the polar regions”

    A good, simple explanation of basic jet stream movement.

  23. From the article: “The jet has always varied – and has always affected our weather patterns. But now climate change is affecting our weather too. As I explore in my latest book, it’s when the wanderings of the jet and the hand of climate change add up that we get record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts – but not freezes.”

    There is no evidence that human-caused climate change (that is what you are talking about isn’t it? Why not spell it out? Oh, I see, you want everyone to do like you do and assume human-caused climate change is real, so there’s no need to add in the “human-caused”. That would be redundant, wouldn’t it.)

    Therefore, since there is no evidence for human-caused climate change, all the “record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts” you refer to must have come about as a result of natural causes (Mother Nature). Until proven otherwise. You are invited to prove that human-caused climate change is real. The truth is you are assuming things not in evidence. You are assuming too much and expecting us to believe your conclusions based on these erroneous assumptions.

    It’s just amazing how many science-types don’t connect the basic dots. Human-caused climate change doesn’t cause anything because there is no evidence that it exists. Assuming it exists is self-delusion/gullibility/ignorance.

  24. From the article: “The coldest weeks of any given winter will occur when the jet brings masses of cold air directly from the polar regions. But severe though this may feel, records show that similar events in past decades were even colder than they are now. While the jet is largely doing the same as it always has, the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.”

    The “planet-heating” greenhouse gases we’ve added so far have resulted in a 0.4C cooling of the globe over the last three years, so where is this “planet-heating” you are claiming to see?

    This author seems to be assuming the temperatures are going up, up, up. They are not. See below. You are assuming too much, sir. That’s not scientific.

    The UAH satellite chart:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_October_2019_v6.jpg

  25. From the article: “The flip side, of course, is that when the jet moves north in summer, bringing warm air from the south, we often have to endure temperatures beyond anything in living memory.”

    Where?

  26. Sadly, the media cannot or will not recognize the points in the narrative where the author departs from the educational basics to the unverified speculation. It does not help that the tone stays the same to imply that no leap has occurred.

  27. Once upon a time, the American Southwest (and parts of Mexico) received far more rain than they do today. Then for reasons no really understands (except for the 97% consensus scientists who apparently understand everything) the rains became less frequent, lands dried up, and indigenous peoples scattered to the winds leaving only the structures of their once proud civilizations behind.

    It would not surprise me at all if this has to do with colder climate versus warmer climate – all part of natural cycles. It would not surprise me that as climate generally warms (with cycles of cooling ever now and again), the American Southwest may become wetter again.

    It *could* be related to the jet streams…since we didn’t have satellites orbiting the Earth back 1,200 years ago (some say that’s all Trump’s fault), we cannot really predict much about how they will behave – just speculate.

  28. From the article: “It is clear and well understood how climate change and the jet can combine like this to cause truly extreme weather events.”

    What a ridiculous statment! How can it be clear and well understood how “human-caused” climate change and the jet stream can combine when there is no evidence that human-caused climate change is real or exists?

    This has got to be a mental disorder. What should we call “assuming things not in evidence, to be facts”? Delusional? Gullible? Credulous? Certainly, “ignorant”. But why? These people don’t appear to be stupid, yet they propose these unsupportable claims.

    I think I have to assign most of it to groupthink. And innate intelligence doesn’t seem to be a defense against falling into this fuzzy thinking. If the groupthink goes against your innate intelligence, some people go with the groupthink, and throw their curiosity out the window. It’s easier mentally, to go with the flow, than to oppose the groupthink, for some.

    • More importantly, how can the interaction of the jet stream and climate change be well understood when (1) we’ve only been studying the impacts of climate change for a few decades now under circumstances where “climate” can only be quantified using many decades of measurements that are averaged to distinguish “climate” from “weather;” and (2) there are no practical applications to test your understanding of climate change, let alone its interaction with the jet stream.

      Statements like this are pure BS because such asserted “understanding” can’t be demonstrated.

    • I’ve read that over 2000 ‘lowest temperature since records began’ records were broken in the US this month. The warmers just ignore it because that destroys their argument.

      • Looks like Thanksgiving is going to set a record low for the day by 1 or 2 degrees for here. The two nights either side of Thursday are also going to be close to record setting at 15 F forecast. Hope I can keep my lime tree safe through this.

  29. “Tim Woollings, University of Oxford
    When prolonged periods of severe weather strike, two things often get the blame these days: climate change and the jet stream. Many have expressed concerns that the rapidly melting Arctic is now disturbing the jet stream,”

    Wooly thinking from the University of Oxford.
    The Arctic has not substantially changed since 2007.

    “Many have expressed concerns that the rapidly melting Arctic is now disturbing the jet stream, bringing more frequent bouts of wild weather.”

    Fantasy strawman established. Now the author will try to induce fear.

    “The strongest winds are about ten kilometres high, near the altitudes at which planes fly, but the bottom of the jet can reach all the way down to the ground, forming the prevailing westerly winds familiar to many”

    Fabricating and conflating to ensure frightening nonsense.

    Jet Stream, NASA

    “Rivers of high-speed air in the atmosphere. Jet streams form along the boundaries of global air masses where there is a significant difference in atmospheric temperature.
    The jet streams may be several hundred miles across and 1-2 miles deep at an altitude of 8-12 miles. They generally move west to east, and are strongest in the winter with core wind speeds as high as 250 mph. Changes in the jet stream indicate changes in the motion of the atmosphere and weather.”

    Eight to twelve miles high in altitude, (12 km to 19 km). That lower altitude level is at the poles, while the higher altitude level is around the Equator.
    The ground only reaches the stratosphere, where jet streams are found, when the mountains are high enough. That is, nowhere. Mt. Everest only reaches the 29,000 feet level, (8,840 meters); nor is Mt. Everest near the poles.
    Meaning that the author above is again fantasizing.

    The author’s claim:

    “Mount Everest (top middle) is so high that it grazes the jet stream, blowing snow off its peak.”

    Is totally unsupported by the author’s link to NASA. The link is to allege NASA support for the author’s preposterous claim.

    Another article full of false strawmen, fantasies and fallacies.

  30. This article was full of assertions; where is the evidence for his assertions?
    Is this man the Paul Krugman of his profession?

  31. “Rapidly warming Arctic…”

    Yes, soon they will be selling time-share condos up there. Data for far less than 100 years from two or three thermometers in the Arctic. Just exactly how warm was it in 1850? No one knows, you say?

    Amazing the amount of garbage that is published as news these days….

  32. This piece sounds like an EXCUSE….
    to wit: “…..if there is global COOLING, that is proof of global warming’s effect causing the jet stream to go southward”.

  33. “The flip side, of course, is that when the jet moves north in summer, bringing warm air from the south, we often have to endure temperatures beyond anything in living memory.”

    Fortunately, we have records of the heat waves of the Dust Bowl era.

  34. “But now climate change is affecting our weather too. “
    No evidence of that. The only evidence I saw was that he has a book to sell.

  35. The storm stalled across the UK and remained almost static for 24 hours while heavy rain fell constantly it was not surprising that there were floods. The ENSO signal has been weak for the last four years does that mean that this modern warming period is over then.

  36. Take a look at the top of the globe and see how the large pressure differentials, rotating in Polar Vortex fashion are at times spilling out into the lower latitudes. Some become meridional ridges, (Rossby waves) which interfere with the zonal circulation (Jet stream).

    While the physical properties of Rossby waves have been well described in the literature, specific application to their influence on the Jet Stream have also been around for years. I recall Tim Ball writing about it in articles as much as 17 years ago and several other meteorologists since then. Even WIKI is not half bad on this one!

    Postings as well as comments would greatly improve if people would take the trouble to get into some basic literature first.

    Whence the Polar Vortex? That’s another interesting story.

  37. Mental pollution: this what you suffer when you read something like this. It derails any attempt at logic. It takes a while to get your thinking back on track. It is, however, a fine example of confirmation bias.

  38. it’s when the wanderings of the jet and the hand of climate change add up that we get record-breaking heatwaves, floods and droughts – but not freezes…records show that similar events in past decades were even colder than they are now. While the jet is largely doing the same as it always has, the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.

    So, are those the records that the past keeps getting colder, while the present remains the same? You might convince me of something, if I hadn’t seen how older records are being reduced in temperature. It seems this article, which includes no graphing, gif or other data accumulation to show how the jetstream is becoming any more wild than the past, nor any larger or slower excursions to support, well, anything, I think it’s just a writer doing his part to express “CLIMATE EMERGENCY”, which was recently discussed as the “duty” of news agencies everywhere, to take part in the Greta Thundberg Climate Disaster Telethon.

  39. There’s nothing unusual about the recent jet-stream. It has ALWAYS had a big effect on the weather around it, it always changes & will continue to do so. Indications are it will produce a colder-than-avg winter this yr in the east-half of the US, especially starting in Jan.

    • Thanks for that link, Kramer.

      Here’s a quote from it: “This winter’s wild weather got its start 4,000 years ago, a new study finds.

      The roaring jet stream, whose swooping winds drove frigid cold in the East and record warmth in the West this winter, first started twisting and turning about 4,000 years ago, according to a new analysis of ancient rainfall records from North America. Jet stream winds race from west to east, and kinks in the narrow atmospheric current can suck Arctic cold south or hold warm air in place.”

      I think that could be worded a lot better. One might get the erroneous impression that cold weather related to the jet stream might only be 4,000 years old. The jet streams have been around since the Earth had a circulating atmosphere. How and why the jet streams configure themselves is another matter.

      I like the top illustration in the link. It shows a global map centered on the U.S with a looping jet stream across it. In this particular configuration there is a high pressure system over the central United States which keeps this area warm and dry, but the jet stream dips southward as we look farther east and the parts of the U.S. that are within that dip in the jet stream are feeling cold arctic air coming into their area. This is how the 1930’s had both record setting high temperatures and record settig low temperatures at the same time. This looks about the way the jet stream is configured today. The central part of the U.S. is getting milder weather while from the Great Lakes eastward they are getting the cold Canadian and artic air masses moving in. This pattern may remain in place for a while.

      The jet stream moves kind of like a solid object at times. Imagine the jet stream in the picture is a solid object and if you reach out and give it a turn of a few degress, then that high-pressure arc in the jet stream situated over the central US will move to the east and then the eastern US will enjoy warmer weather. But if the high-pressure system just sits where it is at right now, then the weather pattern we have seen will continue.

      Weather never made sense to me until my local weatherman, Gary Shore, enlightened me with his tv broadcasts, many years ago. It was a revelation. After that, if I knew what the jet stream pattern looked like, I could understand and predict the general weather pattern. The jet streams are the keys.

      • I’ll quote myself: “This is how the 1930’s had both record setting high temperatures and record settig low temperatures at the same time.”

        Instead of “at the same time”, I should have said, “in the same year”. We are not normally going to get record cold in the summertime. 🙂

  40. any person claiming the climate cause weather events cant possibly be a scientist because they are wrong and showing they do NOT even know what the “climate” is a set of stats, the average weather stats from the previous 30 years for a given area…..the past weather does NOT in any way control the future weather.

  41. Why no mention of the sun and the Grand Solar Minimum? It’s not like this phenomenon is not known, whether they put it in their models or not.
    “Meridional Jet Stream” Upsets Europe’s Apple –and Pear– Cart
    http://bit.ly/2ZVxp2B

    August 8, 2019

    MERIDIONAL (WAVY) JET STREAM
    During a solar minimum, the jet stream’s usual tight Zonal Flow (a west–east direction) loses energy and reverts to more of a loose Meridional Flow (a north-south direction) — this is exaggerated further during a Grand Solar Minimum, like the one we’re entering now, and explains why regions become unseasonably hot or cold and others unusually dry or rainy…

  42. “Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world.”

    Cherry pick much?

  43. The current winter in the northern hemisphere will go down in history. This is evidenced by the forecast ozone distribution and pressure in the central stratosphere. The polar vortex over North America will change the direction of rotation in the opposite direction.
    https://max.nwstatic.co.uk/gfsimages/gfs.20191124/06/120/npst30.png
    Such a weak polar vortex will cause strong jetstream meanders.
    A strong wave from the stratosphere will hit in three days in the northwest of the US.
    https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/strat_int/gif_files/gfs_o3mr_150_NA_f024.png

  44. The polar vortex forecast in the central stratosphere is unusual. Such weakening of the polar vortex at the beginning of winter has not been recorded in recent years.
    https://earth.nullschool.net/?fbclid=IwAR2MPQfVRpyONG_GremHGS0pfMnpgsuF6X50n8lx5mXFYxs9RbdJASJHT7I#2019/11/26/0000Z/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-351.45,86.78,340
    The distribution of ozone in the north during a weak solar wind depends on the changing magnetic field.
    https://images.tinypic.pl/i/00992/sx1axdah593f.jpg
    https://images.tinypic.pl/i/00992/nb9t8y5m15sx.png

  45. Your scenario is very doubtful. If you read the paleoclimatology text books, during the last temperatures before today’s (during the Holocene Climate Optimum), the Intertropical Convergence Zone moved north, carrying the Monsoons with it. This is what turned the Sahara from a desert into a well watered plain the size of the United States.

    These things cannot be considered in isolation from each other.

  46. “Over the past few years, it has become apparent that at high altitudes, the Earth’s tropical regions are heating up more quickly than the rest of the world. At least partly because of this, the tropical regions of the atmosphere have been widening, expanding ever so slightly away from the equator, and impinging more on the jet stream.”

    Actually, some of the computer climate models have predicted a warming of high-altitude air over the tropics, but the actual data have shown cooling of those areas. It seems like Prof. Woollings is spouting the typical AGW propaganda and predictions, rather than using actual data.

  47. It has long been known that the meandering of the jet stream increases with low solar activity, and decreases with high solar activity. Only in the last few years have the usual suspects have tried to blame it on climate change.

  48. As I show in my most recent paper, when it comes to the purported CO2-induced climate change™ no one knows what they’re talking about.

    Not the IPCC, not Tim Woollings, Associate Professor in Physical Climate Science, Oxford University, and not anyone else who relies on climate models to predict the climate.

    Maybe the NH jet is thrashing about more violently than before. But no one, and I mean no one, can assign any such change to the effects of human CO2 emissions.

    The whole of consensus climatology — all of it — lives on false precision. It’s a crock all the way down.

  49. I am concerned. I predicted solar-driven global cooling to start about now in an article published in 2002, and tried to warn the British government about their dangerous climate-and-energy policies in a letter to the Stern Commission written in 2005 and an open letter written in 2013 to The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Baroness Verma, excerpted below:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/31/blind-faith-in-climate-models/#comment-1130954
    [excerpt]

    So here is my real concern:

    IF the Sun does indeed drive temperature, as I suspect, Baroness Verma, then you and your colleagues on both sides of the House may have brewed the perfect storm.

    You are claiming that global cooling will NOT happen, AND you have crippled your energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected “green energy” schemes.

    I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Britain will get colder.

    I also suggest that the IPCC and the Met Office have NO track record of successful prediction (or “projection”) of global temperature and thus have no scientific credibility.

    I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.

    I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.

    As always in these matters, I hope to be wrong. These are not numbers, they are real people, who “loved and were loved”.

    Best regards to all, Allan MacRae

    “Turning and tuning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer…” Yeats

    • It started snowing this morning here in the coastal mountains of Northern California. This is finally ending the seasonal fire danger, and a very late season it was. The snow also means that temps are a bit warmer at night, but when the clouds clear tomorrow then temps are set to drop to record lows by Thursday. The forecast is for temps of 10 to 12 degrees F. My unit sits in a natural cold spot so I get around 4 degrees colder than that. Going to get cold around here.

  50. Hubert Lamb, the man who started the UKCRU, predicted that a wandering jetstream would be a feature of a cooling Planet and by it’s nature bring extreme weather to areas of the planet within the temperate zone.

    He also predicted the takeover of his unit by environmental nutjobs who would blame everything on humans.

  51. Just to be clear (and ornery), the easily predictable LONG term climate outlook is extremely cold due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Jus’ sayin’ . . .

  52. “Weather worries

    The jet has always varied – and has always affected our weather patterns. But now climate change is affecting our weather too.”
    ___________________________

    Nonsense.

    – The jet stream is 1 component of: weather.

    – With or without climate change weather is: weather.

    – What will you affect here – weather is the sum of atmospheric affects that we call: weather.

  53. “the planet-heating greenhouse gases we’ve added to our atmosphere mean that invasions of polar air these days are just that bit milder.”
    ___________________________

    Please xplain how “planet-heating greenhouse gases”

    produce energy to heat planet + atmosphere incl. “planet-heating greenhouse gases”.

    In case that “planet-heating greenhouse gases”

    produce enough energy to heat planet + atmosphere incl. “planet-heating greenhouse gases”

    by burning “planet-heating greenhouse gases”

    : Your problems are solved – “planet-heating greenhouse gases” burn themselves to heat

    planet + atmosphere incl. “planet-heating greenhouse gases”.

    ___________________________

    What you luke warmers never ask: who created the creator –

    You’re the new “proof of the existence of God” generators. Retarding to medivial religion wars.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=religion+wars+proof+of+the+existence+of+God&oq=religion+wars+proof+of+the+existence+of+God&aqs=chrome.

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