18.104.22.168 Atmospheric Circulation
In general, the projected climate changes over North America follow the overall features of those over the NH (Chapter 10). The MMD models project a northward displacement and strengthening of the mid-latitude westerly flow, most pronounced in autumn and winter. Surface pressure is projected to decrease in the north, with a northward displacement of the Aleutian low-pressure centre and a north-westward displacement of the Labrador Sea trough, and to decrease slightly in the south. The reductions in surface pressure in the north are projected to be strongest in winter, reaching –1.5 to –3 hPa, in part as a result of the warming of the continental arctic air mass. On an annual basis, the pressure decrease in the north exceeds the spread among models by a factor of 3 on an annual-mean basis and a factor of 1.5 in summer, so it is significant. The East Pacific subtropical anticyclone is projected to intensify in summer, particularly off the coast of California and Baja California, resulting in an increased air mass subsidence and drier airflow over south-western North America. The pressure increase (less than 0.5 hPa) is small compared to the spread among models, so this projection is rather uncertain.