• Adler, R. F., and Coauthors, 2003: The Version-2 Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) monthly precipitation analysis (1979–present). J. Hydrometeor., 4, 11471167.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bacmeister, J. T., M. J. Suarez, and F. R. Robertson, 2006: Rain reevaporation, boundary layer–convection interactions, and Pacific rainfall patterns in an AGCM. J. Atmos. Sci., 63, 33833403.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cattiaux, J., R. Vautard, C. Cassou, P. Yiou, V. Masson-Delmotte, and F. Codron, 2010: Winter 2010 in Europe: A cold extreme in a warming climate. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L20704, doi:10.1029/2010GL044613.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cohen, J., J. Foster, M. Barlow, K. Saito, and J. Jones, 2010: Winter 2009–2010: A case study of an extreme Arctic Oscillation event. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L17707, doi:10.1029/2010GL044256.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, N., and Coauthors, 2005: Design and implementation of components in the Earth System Modeling Framework. Int. J. High Perform. Comput. Appl., 19, 341350, doi:10.1177/1094342005056120.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fan, Y., and H. van den Dool, 2008: A global monthly land surface air temperature analysis for 1948–present. J. Geophys. Res., 113, D01103, doi:10.1029/2007JD008470.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Feldstein, S. B., 2000: The timescale, power spectra, and climate noise properties of teleconnection patterns. J. Climate, 13, 44304440.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoerling, M., 2010: Understanding the mid-Atlantic snowstorms during the winter of 2009-2010. Expert assessment report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 16 pp. [Available online at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/images/NOAA_AttributionTeam_SnowstormReport.pdf.]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hoerling, M., and A. Kumar, 2002: Atmospheric response patterns associated with tropical forcing. J. Climate, 15, 21842203.

  • Hoerling, M., J. W. Hurrell, T. Hu, G. T. Bates, and A. S. Phillips, 2004: Twentieth century North Atlantic climate change. Part II: Understanding the effect of Indian Ocean warming. Climate Dyn., 23, 391405, doi:10.1007/s00382-004-0433-x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ineson, S., and A. A. Scaife, 2009: The role of the stratosphere in the European climate response to El Nin˜o. Nat. Geosci., 2, 3236.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koster, R. D., M. J. Suárez, A. Ducharne, M. Stieglitz, and P. Kumar, 2000: A catchment-based approach to modeling land surface processes in a general circulation model 1. Model structure. J. Geophys. Res., 105, 24 80924 822.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lin, S.-J., 2004: A vertically Lagrangian finite-volume dynamical core for global models. Mon. Wea. Rev., 132, 22932307.

  • Moorthi, S., and M. J. Suarez, 1992: Relaxed Arakawa–Schubert: A parameterization of moist convection for general circulation models. Mon. Wea. Rev., 120, 9781002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NWS, cited 2011: Mid Atlantic winters: Snow, wind, ice and cold. [Available online at http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/winter/DC-Winters.htm.]

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Richman, M. B., 1986: Rotation of principal components. J. Climatol., 6, 293335.

  • Rienecker, M. M., and Coauthors, 2008: The GEOS-5 Data Assimilation System—Documentation of versions 5.0.1, 5.1.0, and 5.2.0. Tech. Rep. Series on Global Modeling and Data Assimilation, Vol. 27, NASA/TM-2008-104606, 102 pp.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rienecker, M. M., and Coauthors, 2011: MERRA: NASA’s Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications. J. Climate, 24, 36243648.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schubert, S. D., Y. Chang, M. J. Suarez, and P. J. Pegion, 2008: ENSO and wintertime extreme precipitation events over the contiguous Unites States. J. Climate, 21, 2239.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seager, R., Y. Kushnir, J. Nakamura, M. Ting, and N. Naik, 2010: Northern Hemisphere winter snow anomalies: ENSO, NAO and the winter of 2009/10. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L14703, doi:10.1029/2010GL043830.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Serreze, M., M. Clark, and D. L. McGinnis, 1998: Characteristics of snowfall over the eastern half of the United States and relationships with principal modes of low-frequency atmospheric variability. J. Climate, 11, 234250.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, S., and J. O’Brien, 2001: Regional snowfall distributions associated with ENSO: Implications for seasonal forecasting, 2001. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 82, 11791191.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Straus, D. M., and J. Shukla, 2002: Does ENSO force the PNA? J. Climate, 15, 23402358.

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 119 81 2
PDF Downloads 51 30 2

Attribution of the Extreme U.S. East Coast Snowstorm Activity of 2010

View More View Less
  • 1 Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Restricted access

Abstract

This study examines the cause of the extreme snowstorm activity along the U.S. East Coast during the winter of 2009/10 with a focus on the role of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. The study employs the Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5) atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) run at high resolution and forced with specified observed or idealized SST. Comparisons are made with the winter of 1999/2000, a period that is characterized by SST anomalies that are largely of opposite sign.

When forced with observed SSTs, the AGCM response consists of a band of enhanced storminess extending from the central subtropical North Pacific, across the southern United States, across the North Atlantic, and across southern Eurasia, with reduced storminess to the north of these regions. Positive precipitation and cold temperature anomalies occur over the eastern United States, reflecting a propensity for enhanced snowstorm activity. Additional idealized SST experiments show that the anomalies over the United States are, to a large extent, driven by the ENSO-related Pacific SST. The North Atlantic SSTs contribute to the cooler temperatures along the East Coast of the United States, while the Indian Ocean SSTs act primarily to warm the central part of the country.

It is further shown that the observed upper-tropospheric height anomalies have a large noise (unforced) component over the Northern Hemisphere, represented over the North Atlantic by a North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)-like structure. The signal-to-noise ratios of the temperature and precipitation fields nevertheless indicate a potential for predicting the unusual storm activity along the U.S. East Coast several months in advance.

Additional affiliation: Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Siegfried Schubert, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/GSFC Code 610.1, Greenbelt, MD 20771.E-mail: siegfried.d.schubert@nasa.gov

Abstract

This study examines the cause of the extreme snowstorm activity along the U.S. East Coast during the winter of 2009/10 with a focus on the role of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies. The study employs the Goddard Earth Observing System, version 5 (GEOS-5) atmospheric general circulation model (AGCM) run at high resolution and forced with specified observed or idealized SST. Comparisons are made with the winter of 1999/2000, a period that is characterized by SST anomalies that are largely of opposite sign.

When forced with observed SSTs, the AGCM response consists of a band of enhanced storminess extending from the central subtropical North Pacific, across the southern United States, across the North Atlantic, and across southern Eurasia, with reduced storminess to the north of these regions. Positive precipitation and cold temperature anomalies occur over the eastern United States, reflecting a propensity for enhanced snowstorm activity. Additional idealized SST experiments show that the anomalies over the United States are, to a large extent, driven by the ENSO-related Pacific SST. The North Atlantic SSTs contribute to the cooler temperatures along the East Coast of the United States, while the Indian Ocean SSTs act primarily to warm the central part of the country.

It is further shown that the observed upper-tropospheric height anomalies have a large noise (unforced) component over the Northern Hemisphere, represented over the North Atlantic by a North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)-like structure. The signal-to-noise ratios of the temperature and precipitation fields nevertheless indicate a potential for predicting the unusual storm activity along the U.S. East Coast several months in advance.

Additional affiliation: Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Siegfried Schubert, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/GSFC Code 610.1, Greenbelt, MD 20771.E-mail: siegfried.d.schubert@nasa.gov
Save