A consistent poleward shift of the storm tracks in simulations of 21st century climate

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Abstract

[1] A consistent poleward and upward shift and intensification of the storm tracks is found in an ensemble of 21st century climate simulations performed by 15 coupled climate models. The shift of the storm tracks is accompanied by a poleward shift and upward expansion of the midlatitude baroclinic regions associated with enhanced warming in the tropical upper troposphere and increased tropopause height. The poleward shift in baroclinicity is augmented in the Southern Hemisphere and partially offset in the Northern Hemisphere by changes in the surface meridional temperature gradient. The poleward shift of the storm tracks also tends to be accompanied by poleward shifts in surface wind stress and precipitation, and a shift towards the high index state of the annular modes. These results highlight the integral role that the storm tracks play in the climate system, and the importance of understanding how and why they will change in the future.

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