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Drought and Pluvial Dipole Events within the Great Plains of the United States

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  • 1 School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 School of Meteorology, and Oklahoma Climatological Survey, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify dipole events (a drought year followed by a pluvial year) for various spatial scales including the nine Oklahoma climate divisions and the author-defined regions of the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP), High Plains (HP), and Northern Great Plains (NGP). Analyses revealed that, on average, over twice as many standard deviation (STDEV) dipoles existed in the latter half of the dataset (1955–2013) relative to the first half (1896–1954), suggesting that dramatic increases in precipitation from one year to the next within the Oklahoma climate divisions are increasing with time. For the larger regions within the Great Plains of the United States, the percent chance of a significant pluvial year following a significant drought year was approximately 25% of the time for the SGP and NGP and approximately 16% of the time for the HP. The STDEV dipole analyses further revealed that the frequency of dipoles was consistent between the first and second half of the dataset for the NGP and HP but was increasing with time in the SGP. The temporal periods of anomalous precipitation during relative pluvial years within the STDEV dipole events were unique for each region whereby October occurred most frequently (70%) within the SGP, September occurred most frequently (60%) within the HP, and May occurred most frequently (62%) within the NGP.

Corresponding author address: Jordan Christian, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: jordan.christian-1@ou.edu

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify dipole events (a drought year followed by a pluvial year) for various spatial scales including the nine Oklahoma climate divisions and the author-defined regions of the U.S. Southern Great Plains (SGP), High Plains (HP), and Northern Great Plains (NGP). Analyses revealed that, on average, over twice as many standard deviation (STDEV) dipoles existed in the latter half of the dataset (1955–2013) relative to the first half (1896–1954), suggesting that dramatic increases in precipitation from one year to the next within the Oklahoma climate divisions are increasing with time. For the larger regions within the Great Plains of the United States, the percent chance of a significant pluvial year following a significant drought year was approximately 25% of the time for the SGP and NGP and approximately 16% of the time for the HP. The STDEV dipole analyses further revealed that the frequency of dipoles was consistent between the first and second half of the dataset for the NGP and HP but was increasing with time in the SGP. The temporal periods of anomalous precipitation during relative pluvial years within the STDEV dipole events were unique for each region whereby October occurred most frequently (70%) within the SGP, September occurred most frequently (60%) within the HP, and May occurred most frequently (62%) within the NGP.

Corresponding author address: Jordan Christian, 120 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 5900, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail: jordan.christian-1@ou.edu
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