Articles | Volume 3, issue 3
Research article
 | Highlight paper
21 Jul 2022
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 21 Jul 2022

Trends in the tropospheric general circulation from 1979 to 2022

Adrian J. Simmons

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Cited articles

Berrisford, P., Dee, D., Poli, P., Brugge, R., Fielding, K., Fuentes, M., Kållberg, P., Kobayashi, S., Uppala, S., and Simmons, A.: The ERA-Interim archive, Version 2.0. ERA Report Series no. 1, 23 pp, (last access: 15 July 2022), 2011. 
Byrne, N. J., Shepherd, T. G., Woollings, T., and Plumb, R. A.: Nonstationarity in southern hemisphere climate variability associated with the seasonal breakdown of the stratospheric polar vortex, J. Climate, 30, 7125–7139,, 2017. 
Cheng, L., Foster, G., Hausfather, Z., Trenberth. K. E., and Abraham, J.: Improved quantification of the rate of ocean warming, J. Climate, 35, 4827–4840,, 2022. 
Chung, E.-S., Timmermann, A., Soden, B. J., Ha, K.-J., Shi, L., and John, V. O.: Reconciling opposing Walker circulation trends in observations and model projections, Nat. Clim. Chang., 9, 405–412,, 2019. 
Executive editor
Analysing and understanding potential trends in the atmospheric circulation over the last decades is an important aspect of atmospheric dynamics. In this article, Adrian Simmons performed a very thorough global trend analysis, with a focus on near-tropopause winds, based on ERA5 reanalyses. The paper provides an excellent overview and emphasises important regional and seasonal differences. It is shown that despite Arctic amplification, the upper-level westerlies mainly strengthened at northern middle latitudes. Focusing on jet-stream wind maxima, it is found that they increased over the North Atlantic. These results and the detailed global trend overview will be useful for the community to further investigate the underlying physical processes that led to these trends in the last decades.
Short summary
This study of changes in temperature and wind since 1979 met its twin aims of (i) increasing confidence in some findings of the latest IPCC assessment and (ii) identifying changes that had received little or no previous attention. It reports a small overall intensification and shift in position of the North Atlantic jet stream and associated storms, and a strengthening of tropical upper-level easterlies. Increases in low-level winds over tropical and southern hemispheric oceans are confirmed.