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Principal Component Analysis of the Summertime Winds over the Gulf of California: A Gulf Surge Index

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
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Abstract

A principal component analysis of the summertime near-surface Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) winds is used to identify the leading mode of synoptic-scale variability of the low-level flow along the Gulf of California during the North American monsoon season. A gulf surge mode emerges from this analysis as the leading EOF, with the corresponding principal component time series interpretable as an objective index for gulf surge occurrence. This index is used as a reference time series for regression analysis and compositing meteorological fields of interest, to explore the relationship between gulf surges and precipitation over the core and marginal regions of the monsoon, as well as the manifestation of these transient events in the large-scale circulation. It is found that, although seemingly mesoscale features confined over the Gulf of California, gulf surges are intimately linked to patterns of large-scale variability of the eastern Pacific ITCZ and greatly contribute to the definition of the northward extent of the monsoonal rains.

Corresponding author address: Simona Bordoni, Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 951565, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565. Email: bordoni@atmos.ucla.edu

Abstract

A principal component analysis of the summertime near-surface Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) winds is used to identify the leading mode of synoptic-scale variability of the low-level flow along the Gulf of California during the North American monsoon season. A gulf surge mode emerges from this analysis as the leading EOF, with the corresponding principal component time series interpretable as an objective index for gulf surge occurrence. This index is used as a reference time series for regression analysis and compositing meteorological fields of interest, to explore the relationship between gulf surges and precipitation over the core and marginal regions of the monsoon, as well as the manifestation of these transient events in the large-scale circulation. It is found that, although seemingly mesoscale features confined over the Gulf of California, gulf surges are intimately linked to patterns of large-scale variability of the eastern Pacific ITCZ and greatly contribute to the definition of the northward extent of the monsoonal rains.

Corresponding author address: Simona Bordoni, Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Box 951565, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565. Email: bordoni@atmos.ucla.edu

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