Poleward migration of eddy-driven jets

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Poleward migration of eddy-driven jets is found to occur in the extratropics when the subtropical and eddy-driven jets are clearly separated, as achieved by simulations at high-rotation rates. The poleward migration of these eddy-driven baroclinic jets over time is consistent with variation of eddy momentum flux convergence and baroclinicity across the width of the jet. We demonstrate this using a high-resolution idealized GCM where we systematically examine the eddy-driven jets over a wide range of rotation rates (up to 16 times the rotation rate of Earth). At the flanks of the jets, the poleward migration is caused by a poleward bias in baroclinicity across the width of the jet, estimated through measures such as Eady growth rate and supercriticality. The poleward biased baroclinicity is due to the meridional variation of the Coriolis parameter, which causes a poleward bias of the eddy momentum flux convergence. At the core of the jets, the poleward biased eddy momentum flux convergence relative to the mean jet deflects over time the baroclinicity and the jets poleward. As the rotation rate is increased, and more (narrower) jets emerge the migration rate becomes smaller due to less eddy momentum flux convergence over the narrower baroclinic zones. We find a linear relation between the migration rate of the jets and the net eddy momentum flux convergence across the jets. This poleward migration might be related to the slow poleward propagation of temporal anomalies of zonal winds observed in the upper troposphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1457-1471
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Environmental Chemistry


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