The Impact of a Hemispheric Circulation Regime on Fall Precipitation over North America

David Small Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

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Shafiqul Islam Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

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Mathew Barlow Environmental, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences Department, University of Massachusetts—Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts

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Abstract

While there is growing evidence that the main contribution to trends in U.S. precipitation occurs during fall, most studies of seasonal precipitation have focused on winter or summer. Here, the leading mode of fall precipitation variability over North America is isolated from multiple data sources and connected to a hemispheric-scale circulation pattern. Over North America, the leading mode of fall precipitation variability in both station-based and satellite-blended data is a tripole that links fall precipitation anomalies in southern Alaska, the central United States, and eastern Canada. This mode is part of a larger pattern of alternating wet and dry anomalies stretching from the western Pacific to the North Atlantic. Dynamically, the precipitation anomalies are closely associated with changes to regional-scale moisture transport that are, in turn, linked to two independently identified hemispheric-scale wave patterns that are one-quarter wavelength out of phase (i.e., in quadrature) and resemble the circumglobal teleconnection.

Corresponding author address: David Small, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, 200 College Ave., Medford, MA 02155. Email: david.small@tufts.edu

Abstract

While there is growing evidence that the main contribution to trends in U.S. precipitation occurs during fall, most studies of seasonal precipitation have focused on winter or summer. Here, the leading mode of fall precipitation variability over North America is isolated from multiple data sources and connected to a hemispheric-scale circulation pattern. Over North America, the leading mode of fall precipitation variability in both station-based and satellite-blended data is a tripole that links fall precipitation anomalies in southern Alaska, the central United States, and eastern Canada. This mode is part of a larger pattern of alternating wet and dry anomalies stretching from the western Pacific to the North Atlantic. Dynamically, the precipitation anomalies are closely associated with changes to regional-scale moisture transport that are, in turn, linked to two independently identified hemispheric-scale wave patterns that are one-quarter wavelength out of phase (i.e., in quadrature) and resemble the circumglobal teleconnection.

Corresponding author address: David Small, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, 200 College Ave., Medford, MA 02155. Email: david.small@tufts.edu

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