, Volume 42, Issue 5-6, pp 1649-1664
Date: 03 May 2013

On the yearly phase delay of winter intraseasonal mode in the western United States

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In the western United States, persistent and recurrent flow patterns not only modulate precipitation events but also result in prolonged surface inversion episodes. In this region, the frequency of persistent ridge/trough events ranges between 20 and 40 days, well within the intraseasonal timescale. Based on NCEP reanalysis data starting at 1949, with a focus on the interior West, we observed that episodes of prolonged ridge/trough events appear to occur about a week later every year and resets every 5–7 years—a previously undocumented phenomenon examined herein. Diagnostic analyses indicate that the interplay between regional intraseasonal flow patterns and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) alternates the preferred timeframe for the persistent ridge/trough events to occur. This may result from different phases of the NAO shifting the winter mean ridge and such shifts modulate the occurrence and timing of persistent ridge/trough events. When the timing changes evolve around the quasi-6 years cycle of the NAO, the resultant evolution forms what appears to be a steady phase delay in the ridge/trough events year after year. These results are a further step in disclosing the multiple-scale interaction between intraseasonal and interannual modes and its regional climate/weather impact.