Are the winters 2010 and 2012 archetypes exhibiting extreme opposite behavior of the North Atlantic jet stream?
Santos, J. A., Woollings, T. and Pinto, J. G. (2013) Are the winters 2010 and 2012 archetypes exhibiting extreme opposite behavior of the North Atlantic jet stream? Monthly Weather Review, 141 (10). pp. 3626-3640. ISSN 1520-0493
To link to this article DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00024.1
The atmospheric circulation over the North Atlantic-European sector experienced exceptional but highly contrasting conditions in the recent 2010 and 2012 winters (November-March; with the year dated by the relevant January). Evidence is given for the remarkably different locations of the eddy-driven westerly jet over the North Atlantic. In the 2010 winter the maximum of the jet stream was systematically between 30ºN and 40ºN (in the ‘south jet regime’), while in the 2012 winter it was predominantly located around 55ºN (north jet regime). These jet features underline the occurrence of either weak flow (2010) or strong and persistent ridges throughout the troposphere (2012). This is confirmed by the very different occurrence of blocking systems over the North Atlantic, associated with episodes of strong cyclonic (anticyclonic) Rossby wave breaking in 2010 (2012) winters. These dynamical features underlie strong precipitation and temperature anomalies over parts of Europe, with detrimental impacts on many socioeconomic sectors. Despite the highly contrasting atmospheric states, mid and high-latitude boundary conditions do not reveal strong differences in these two winters. The two winters were associated with opposite ENSO phases, but there is no causal evidence of a remote forcing from the Pacific sea surface temperatures. Finally, the exceptionality of the two winters is demonstrated in relation to the last 140 years. It is suggested that these winters may be seen as archetypes of North Atlantic jet variability under current climate conditions.