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The Future of Earth’s Jet Streams under Climate Change

Academic lead
​Amanda Maycock​, School of ​Earth and Environment​, ​​
Industrial lead
​Steven Hardiman​, ​Met Office​,​
​Stephen Griffiths​, School of Mathematics, ​​
Project themes
Environmental Flows, Geophysical and Astrophysical Flows

Jet streams are fundamental geophysical fluid dynamical features within Earth’s rotating, stratified atmosphere. Unusual behaviour of the jet streams is frequently associated with extreme weather events and major societal impacts. However, how Earth’s jet streams will change in the future under climate change is highly uncertain. This has been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a major knowledge gap limiting the development of regional climate change projections. This PhD project will utilise a new, more complete framework for diagnosing the jet stream to examine its future changes in simulations from state-of-the-art climate models. There will be a focus on the summer-time circulation, where jet stream anomalies frequently drive severe heatwaves. We will investigate the hypothesis that climate change increases the occurrence of wave resonance, leading to more persistent jet stream anomalies. The project will combine analysis of observation datasets, output from comprehensive climate models and performing idealised numerical simulations depending on the student’s interests. The project would suit a student with an interest in environmental fluid dynamics and an interest in one of the biggest threats facing humanity: climate change.