A set of three-dimensional jet indices (jet speed index, jet pressure index, jet latitude index) has been proposed in previous literature to describe the variation of jet streams in both the horizontal and vertical direction. We refer to these indices at the ‘AC’ indices, after the names of the researchers involved. However, the physical meaning of the AC indices and the relationship between AC indices and climate systems are not fully understood. Further study is still needed for applying the indices in East Asia (70°–140° E). In this study, based on the understanding of the physical meaning of the AC indices, latitudinal ranges of East Asian jet streams are determined, and a set of modified AC indices is proposed. Based on the modified AC indices, the linear trends in East Asian jet streams are studied, and the relationship between East Asian jet streams and the climate is researched. The results show that the jet speed index corresponds to the meridional temperature gradient (MTG) of the middle to upper troposphere (500–200 hPa); the jet pressure index corresponds to the pressure level at which the MTG equals zero; and the jet latitude reflects the meridional MTG distribution. The latitudinal ranges of jet streams are determined based on the meridional profiles of climatological zonal-mean zonal winds. Within such a latitudinal range, the climatological zonal-mean zonal winds between 400 and 100 hPa are only westerly, and the maximum wind speed in the vertical direction at every latitude appears between 400 and 100 hPa. The jet streams can be further classified according to the features of the profiles. For East Asia (70°–140° E), jet streams can be classified into winter subtropical jet streams (15°–47.5° N), summer subtropical jet streams (27.5°–60° N), and summer polar front jet streams (60°–87.5° N). The classification of jet streams can be supported by their correspondence to the distribution of tropospheric baroclinicity. A set of modified AC indices can be acquired by using the new ranges of East Asian jet streams in the definition of the original AC indices. Descriptions of jet streams using the modified AC indices are more in accordance with the distributional features of the climatological zonal winds over East Asia, and the physical meanings of the modified AC indices are more definite than the original indices. Using the modified AC indices, we find a significant weakening trend in the strength of the summer subtropical jet stream (−0.13 m/s/10 yr) and a significant northward shift of the winter subtropical jet stream (0.22°/10 yr), and the possible reasons for these trends are studied. Finally, the relationships of East Asian jet streams in winter and summer with atmospheric circulation, temperature, and precipitation are also investigated in this study.
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