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WIREs Clim Change
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The impact of Arctic warming on the midlatitude jet‐stream: Can it? Has it? Will it?

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The Arctic lower atmosphere has warmed more rapidly than that of the globe as a whole, and this has been accompanied by unprecedented sea ice melt. Such large environmental changes are already having profound impacts on the flora, fauna, and inhabitants of the Arctic region. An open question, however, is whether these Arctic changes have an effect on the jet‐stream and thereby influence weather patterns farther south. This broad question has recently received a lot of scientific and media attention, but conclusions appear contradictory rather than consensual. We argue that one point of confusion has arisen due to ambiguities in the exact question being posed. In this study, we frame our inquiries around three distinct questions: Can Arctic warming influence the midlatitude jet‐stream? Has Arctic warming significantly influenced the midlatitude jet‐stream? Will Arctic warming significantly influence the midlatitude jet‐stream? We argue that framing the discussion around the three questions: Can it?, Has it?, and Will it? provides insight into the common themes emerging in the literature as well as highlights the challenges ahead. WIREs Clim Change 2015, 6:277–286. doi: 10.1002/wcc.337

Local versus remote causes of Arctic warming. Vertical and seasonal structure of Arctic‐mean temperature trends (1979–2008) (a) in observations, (b) in model ensembles forced by global sea ice and sea surface temperature changes and (c) forced by only Arctic sea ice and sea‐surface temperature changes and (d) their difference. Panels (c) and (d) provide estimates of the local and remote influences on Arctic warming, respectively. Black dots show trends that are statistically significant at the 95% level. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012 American Geophysical Union (John Wiley & Son))
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Internal variability of the jet‐stream. (a) Time series of winter (December–January–February) mean jet latitude, and (b) jet speed from the 20th century Reanalysis (black), with the ±2 standard deviation range across the ensemble (shaded). The thick lines show versions that have been smoothed with a 7‐point binomial filter, which strongly damps time scales shorter than 5 years. Red lines indicate indices derived from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis in recent decades. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2014 Royal Meteorological Society (John Wiley & Son))
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Circulation response to polar surface heating in a simplified GCM. (a) The applied thermal forcing (K/day) in the GFDL dry dynamical core. (b) The total eddy momentum flux response (shading) (m2/s2) and the zonal‐mean zonal wind response (contours) (m/s). Bold black lines denote the control run tropopause. The model simulation was run under perpetual equinoctial conditions. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2010 American Meteorological Society)
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Relationships between projected future Arctic Amplification and the jet‐stream. North Atlantic (a) jet latitude and (b) jet speed responses as a function of month between 2076–2099 and 1980–2004 under RCP8.5 for 21 CMIP5 models. Bars signify the 10th–90th percentile range and crosses denote model responses outside of this range. (c, d) Correlation across the CMIP5 models of the North Atlantic (c) jet latitude and (d) jet speed with the Arctic amplification (AA) responses as a function of month. Solid circles denote correlations significant at the 95% confidence level. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2014 American Meteorological Society)
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The horizontal and vertical pattern of projected warming. Zonal‐mean, multimodel mean air temperature response (shading) between 2076–2099 and 1980–2004 under RCP8.5 for 21 CMIP5 models in (a) winter (January–February–March) and (b) summer (July–August–September). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2014 American Meteorological Society)
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    Congrats LA Bearup, RM Maxwell & JE McCray, Ecohydrology Early Career Publication Award winners. Full paper:… https://t.co/oE0mU8nm6t