Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Observed trends in the global jet stream characteristics during the second half of the 20th century


Corresponding author: Cristina Pena-Ortiz, Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Carretera de Utrera Km.1, 41013 Sevilla, Spain. (


[1] In this paper, we propose a new method based on the detection of jet cores with the aim to describe the climatological features of the jet streams and to estimate their trends in latitude, altitude, and velocity in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and 20th Century reanalysis data sets. Due to the fact that the detection method uses a single grid point to define the position of jet cores, our results reveal a greater latitudinal definition allowing a more accurate picture of the split flow configurations and double jet structures. To the best of our knowledge, these results provide the first multiseasonal and global trend analysis of jet streams based on a daily-resolution 3-D detection algorithm. Trends have been analyzed over 1958–2008 and during the post-satellite period, 1979–2008. We found that, in general, trends in jet velocities and latitudes have been faster for the Southern Hemisphere jets and especially for the southern polar front jet which has experienced the fastest velocity increase and poleward shift over 1979–2008 during the austral summer and autumn. Results presented here show an acceleration and a poleward shift of the northern and southern winter subtropical jets over 1979–2008 that occur at a faster rate and over larger zonally extended regions during this latter period than during 1958–2008.