The North Atlantic jet stream under climate change and its relation to the NAO and EA patterns
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00087.1
This paper describes recent variations of the North Atlantic eddy-driven jet stream and analyzes the mean response of the jet to anthropogenic forcing in climate models. Jet stream changes are analyzed both using a direct measure of the near-surface westerly wind maximum and using an EOF-based approach. This allows jet stream changes to be related to the widely used leading patterns of variability: the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and East Atlantic (EA) pattern. Viewed in NAO–EA state space, isolines of jet latitude and speed resemble a distorted polar coordinate system, highlighting the dependence of the jet stream quantities on both spatial patterns. Some differences in the results of the two methods are discussed, but both approaches agree on the general characteristics of the climate models. While there is some agreement between models on a poleward shift of the jet stream in response to anthropogenic forcing, there is still considerable spread between different model projections, especially in winter. Furthermore, the model responses to forcing are often weaker than their biases when compared to a reanalysis. Diagnoses of jet stream changes can be sensitive to the methodologies used, and several aspects of this are also discussed.