Publications associated with Predictability of Weather and Climate


Jet speed variability obscures Euro‐Atlantic regime structure

Geophysical Research Letters American Geophysical Union 47 (2020) e2020GL087907

J Dorrington, K Strommen

Euro‐Atlantic regimes are typically identified using either the latitude of the North Atlantic jet or clustering algorithms in the phase space of 500‐hPa geopotential (Z500). However, while robust trimodality is visibly apparent in jet latitude indices, Z500 clusters require highly sensitive significance tests to distinguish them from autocorrelated noise. This leads to considerable decadal variability in regime patterns, confounding many potential applications. A clear‐cut choice of the optimal number of regimes is also hard to justify. We argue that the jet speed, a near‐Gaussian distribution projecting strongly onto the Z500 field, is the source of these difficulties. Once its influence is removed, the phase space becomes visibly non‐Gaussian, and clustering algorithms easily recover three regimes, closely corresponding to the jet latitude modes. Further analysis supports the existence of two additional blocking regimes, corresponding to a tilted and split jet. All five regimes are approximately stationary across the twentieth century.


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