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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Atmospheric jet stream variability reflects vegetation activity in Europe

Messori, Gabriele; Wu, Minchao; Vico, Giulia; Galfi, Vera Melinda


Jet streams are a key component of the climate system, whose dynamics couple closely to regional climate variability. Yet, the link between jet stream variability and vegetation activity has received little attention. Here, we leverage our understanding of the mid-latitude jet stream dynamics over the Euro-Atlantic sector to probe climate-vegetation interactions across Europe. We link indices related to the meridional location of the jet and the large-scale zonal wind speed with remotely-sensed vegetation greenness anomalies during locally-defined growing seasons. Correlations between greenness anomalies and jet latitude anomalies point to a control of the jet stream's variability on vegetation activity over large parts of Europe. This potential control is mediated by the jet latitude anomalies' correlations with temperature, soil moisture and downward surface solar radiation. The sign and strength of these correlations depend on location and time of the year. Furthermore, jet stream variability modulates conditions at the onset and end of the growing season. The link between jet latitude anomalies and vegetation greenness is not only specific to the climate zone, but also to the landclass and subperiod within the growing season. It is thus important to use a locally-defined growing season for interpreting the atmospheric controls on regional vegetation phenology. Results consistent with the correlation analysis emerge when focussing on local high or low greenness months only or on zonal wind speed anomalies, confirming the relevance of jet variability for vegetation activity.


Jet Stream; Vegetation; Europe; EVI2

Published in

Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
2022, Volume: 322, article number: 109008
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Climate Research
    Physical Geography

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