AbstractNarrow, tropopause-level wind speed maxima known as jet streams or jets are among the most ubiquitous structural characteristics of Earth’s atmosphere. Two species, the polar and subtropical jets, can be observed on any given day. The polar jet is tied, via eddy momentum flux convergence associated with extratropical wave development, to the troposphere-deep baroclinicity of the midlatitudes, while the subtropical jet is tied, by angular momentum constraints, to the poleward edge of the tropical Hadley cell. As a consequence of their different origins, the polar and subtropical jets are separated by both latitude and elevation. However, there are times when these two usually separate features become vertically superposed to form a single, intense jet core designated as a jet superposition or superposed jet. An objective method for identifying tropopause-level jets is employed in the construction of 50-yr cold season (November–March) synoptic climatologies of the Northern Hemisphere polar jet, subtropical jet, and jet superpositions. The analysis demonstrates that while superposition events are relatively rare, there are clear geographical maxima. Superpositions are most frequent in the western Pacific from December through February, with a secondary peak in southern North America and along its eastern seaboard. Consistent with expectations, the spatiotemporal maxima in jet superpositions appear to be coincident with maxima in the polar and subtropical jets.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Sep 1, 2017
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