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Mesoscale Convective Systems over the United States during the 1997–98 El Niño

Christopher J. AndersonDepartment of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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Raymond W. ArrittDepartment of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

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Abstract

Large, long-lived mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the United States during the 1997–98 El Niño are documented. Two periods of abnormal MCS activity are identified in 1998: from March to mid-April an unusually large number of quasi-linear MCSs were observed in the Midwest; while quasi-circular MCSs in June–August of 1998 were concentrated near 37°N rather than following a seasonal shift similar to that observed in the climatological distribution. Episodic surges of northerly low-level flow were infrequent in March 1998, thereby leading to an unusually high incidence of quasi-linear MCSs and to precipitation anomalies in the central United States.

Corresponding author address: Christopher J. Anderson, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1010. Email: candersn@iastate.edu

Abstract

Large, long-lived mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) over the United States during the 1997–98 El Niño are documented. Two periods of abnormal MCS activity are identified in 1998: from March to mid-April an unusually large number of quasi-linear MCSs were observed in the Midwest; while quasi-circular MCSs in June–August of 1998 were concentrated near 37°N rather than following a seasonal shift similar to that observed in the climatological distribution. Episodic surges of northerly low-level flow were infrequent in March 1998, thereby leading to an unusually high incidence of quasi-linear MCSs and to precipitation anomalies in the central United States.

Corresponding author address: Christopher J. Anderson, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, 3010 Agronomy Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1010. Email: candersn@iastate.edu

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