Regional Changes in the Mean Position and Variability of the Tropical Edge

Sonja Totz*, Stefan Petri, Jascha Lehmann, Dim Coumou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Recent studies indicate that the tropical belt has been expanding during recent decades, which can significantly influence precipitation in subtropical climates. Often the location of the tropical border is identified using the Hadley cell edge (HCE) or the subtropical jet stream (STJ), but most studies concentrated on the zonal-mean state, thereby missing regional impacts. Here we detect longitudinal-resolved trends in STJ cores and HCEs over 1979–2016 in both hemispheres at a higher spatial and temporal resolution than previous studies. Besides pronounced regional trend differences in both sign and magnitude, we show that winter HCE and STJ variability increased in the Mediterranean region and decreased over the American and Asian continents. Rainfall variability in these regions changed likewise, and most of those changes can be explained by changes in HCE/STJ variability. This highlights the importance of understanding future tropical belt changes both regionally and in terms of variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12076-12084
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
Early online date31 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2018


  • Atmosphere synamics
  • tropical border


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