Storm track dynamics

Atmospheric variability in the extratropics is dominated by baroclinic eddies. These eddies carry the bulk of the transport of momentum, heat, and moisture in the midlatitudes and therefore play a vital role in Earth's climate. Eddies are generated by baroclinic processes, preferentially in regions of strong temperature gradients and vertical wind shear near the entrance of the storm tracks, the regions of strong eddy activity. Even small shifts in the location of the storm tracks can have significant effects on regional climate, for example, through changes in hydrologic balances, especially in regions that in the present climate are on the flanks of the storm tracks. Our studies focus on understanding the mechanisms that control the latitudinal position, longitudinal extent, and seasonal variability of storm tracks and what sets the formation, frequency and intensity of baroclinic eddies. Specific focus is how the storm tracks vary during climate change.

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