The circulation exhibits a distinct annual cycle of maximum SIN (waviness) in summer and a minimum in winter, inversely related to the annual cycle of zonal wind speed. Positive trends in SIN have emerged in recent decades during winter and summer at several latitude bands, generally collocated with negative trends in zonal wind speeds. High values of SIN coincide with many prominent extreme-weather events, including Superstorm Sandy.
RCP8.5 simulations (2006-2100) project a dipole pattern of zonal wind changes that varies seasonally. In winter, AA causes inflated heights over the Arctic relative to mid-latitudes and an associated weakening (strengthening) of the westerlies north (south) of 40N. The AA signal in summer is strongest over upper-latitude land, promoting localized atmospheric ridging aloft with lighter westerlies to the south and stronger zonal winds to the north. The changes in wind speeds in both seasons are inversely correlated with SIN, indicating a wavier circulation where the flow weakens. In summer the lighter winds over much of the U. S. resemble circulation anomalies observed during extreme summer heat and drought. Such changes may be linked to enhanced heating of upper-latitude land surfaces caused by earlier snow melt during spring-summer.