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Characteristics of the Dominant Modes of Atmospheric Quasi-Biweekly Oscillation over Tropical–Subtropical Americas

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  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 2 NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 3 State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
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Abstract

During the boreal summer (June–August), vigorous convection appears over the eastern Pacific, southern Mexico, and northern South America, and oscillates on a distinct time scale of 10–20 days. Extended empirical orthogonal function (EEOF) analysis shows that the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) of the convection has two major modes: a west–east-orientated mode (WEM) and a north–south-orientated mode (NSM). The WEM, which is explained by the first two EEOF modes, originates over the eastern Atlantic, propagates westward along 15°N, and enhances over the Caribbean Sea before disappearing over the central Pacific. The NSM, explained by the third and fourth EEOF modes, originates over the western Pacific, moves eastward, and strengthens over the eastern Pacific. It shifts northward after arriving over the Caribbean Sea. Both modes have notable seasonal dependence, with the WEM more active in July and August and the NSM more active in June or earlier.

The two distinct QBWO modes are linked to different rainfall patterns over the United States and Mexico. When the WEM is active in July and August, wet conditions occur over the southern central United States and dry conditions appear to the north. When the NSM is active in June, northern Mexico, the southwestern United States, the Missouri basin, and the northern Great Lakes are drier than normal, while southern Mexico and the eastern United States are wetter than normal. Significant variations in atmospheric circulation are found to be associated with the interannual variability of the NSM activity in June. However, these variations may not necessarily result from QBWO but, rather, provide a background for QBWO activity instead. In July and August, the association of QBWO with the precipitation pattern over North America may sometimes be related to hurricane activity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Rm. 605, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746. E-mail: song.yang@noaa.gov

Abstract

During the boreal summer (June–August), vigorous convection appears over the eastern Pacific, southern Mexico, and northern South America, and oscillates on a distinct time scale of 10–20 days. Extended empirical orthogonal function (EEOF) analysis shows that the quasi-biweekly oscillation (QBWO) of the convection has two major modes: a west–east-orientated mode (WEM) and a north–south-orientated mode (NSM). The WEM, which is explained by the first two EEOF modes, originates over the eastern Atlantic, propagates westward along 15°N, and enhances over the Caribbean Sea before disappearing over the central Pacific. The NSM, explained by the third and fourth EEOF modes, originates over the western Pacific, moves eastward, and strengthens over the eastern Pacific. It shifts northward after arriving over the Caribbean Sea. Both modes have notable seasonal dependence, with the WEM more active in July and August and the NSM more active in June or earlier.

The two distinct QBWO modes are linked to different rainfall patterns over the United States and Mexico. When the WEM is active in July and August, wet conditions occur over the southern central United States and dry conditions appear to the north. When the NSM is active in June, northern Mexico, the southwestern United States, the Missouri basin, and the northern Great Lakes are drier than normal, while southern Mexico and the eastern United States are wetter than normal. Significant variations in atmospheric circulation are found to be associated with the interannual variability of the NSM activity in June. However, these variations may not necessarily result from QBWO but, rather, provide a background for QBWO activity instead. In July and August, the association of QBWO with the precipitation pattern over North America may sometimes be related to hurricane activity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Song Yang, NOAA/Climate Prediction Center, Rm. 605, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746. E-mail: song.yang@noaa.gov
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