Atmospheric jet fluctuations

Examines the link between observed fluctuations of atmospheric jet streams and the theoretical concepts that describe why jet streams exist.

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Atmospheric jet streams are fast-flowing currents of air found approximately 10 km above sea level in the extratropical regions of both hemispheres. Because these jets influence regional weather patterns, there is great interest in understanding the factors that control their path, their strength and variations in both.

Theory tells us two different dynamical processes can give rise to such jets: heating in the tropics (thermal driving) and storm activity in the the midlatitudes (eddy driving). However, how important each process is in the real world is not well known. This project aims to establish a clearer link between theory and the real-world jets by identifying how variations in the driving processes affect the jets.

Image: Meandering around the planet like a rollicking roller coaster in the sky, the Northern Hemisphere's polar jet stream is a fast-moving belt of westerly winds that traverses the lower layers of the atmosphere. (Source: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center)

Duration: 2010-

Camille Li
Justin Wettstein