Climate Dynamics

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 411–422 | Cite as

Variability of the Caribbean Low-Level Jet and its relations to climate



A maximum of easterly zonal wind at 925 hPa in the Caribbean region is called the Caribbean Low-Level Jet (CLLJ). Observations show that the easterly CLLJ varies semi-annually, with two maxima in the summer and winter and two minima in the fall and spring. Associated with the summertime strong CLLJ are a maximum of sea level pressure (SLP), a relative minimum of rainfall (the mid-summer drought), and a minimum of tropical cyclogenesis in July in the Caribbean Sea. It is found that both the meridional gradients of sea surface temperature (SST) and SLP show a semi-annual feature, consistent with the semi-annual variation of the CLLJ. The CLLJ anomalies vary with the Caribbean SLP anomalies that are connected to the variation of the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH). In association with the cold (warm) Caribbean SST anomalies, the atmosphere shows the high (low) SLP anomalies near the Caribbean region that are consistent with the anomalously strong (weak) easterly CLLJ. The CLLJ is also remotely related to the SST anomalies in the Pacific and Atlantic, reflecting that these SST variations affect the NASH. During the winter, warm (cold) SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific correspond to a weak (strong) easterly CLLJ. However, this relationship is reversed during the summer. This is because the effects of ENSO on the NASH are opposite during the winter and summer. The CLLJ varies in phase with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) since a strong (weak) NASH is associated with a strengthening (weakening) of both the CLLJ and the NAO. The CLLJ is positively correlated with the 925-hPa meridional wind anomalies from the ocean to the United States via the Gulf of Mexico. Thus, the CLLJ and the meridional wind carry moisture from the ocean to the central United States, usually resulting in an opposite (or dipole) rainfall pattern in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean and Atlantic warm pool versus the central United States.


Tropical Cyclone Wind Anomaly North Atlantic Subtropical High Atlantic Warm Pool North Pacific Subtropical High 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Mr Jay Harris for downloading the data used in this study. Dr Sang-ki Lee assists with Fig. 1 and calculates the significance test of the semi-annual feature of the CLLJ. Comments by Dr German Poveda, an anonymous reviewer, and the Editor (Dr Edwin Schneider) are appreciated. This work was supported by a grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office and by the base funding of NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the funding agency.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Oceanography DivisionNOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological LaboratoryMiamiUSA

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