Advertisement

Climate Dynamics

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 343–351 | Cite as

The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and extreme daily precipitation over the US and Mexico during the hurricane season

  • Scott Curtis
Article

Abstract

The tail of the distribution of daily precipitation for August–September–October was examined over the United States and Mexico in relation to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). As expected from previous studies linking the AMO to hurricane activity, Florida and the coastal Southeast US showed an increase in precipitation intensity when the Atlantic was in a warm phase (AMO+). Also during AMO+ Northwest Mexico was dry and exhibited a reduction of extreme events and the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Mountains showed evidence of an increase in heavy precipitation compared to when the Atlantic was cool. It is proposed that the aforementioned decadal variations in extreme rainfall are forced by changes in the large-scale surface winds and air temperature in conjunction with the AMO. Namely, an anomalous cyclonic circulation is observed off the Southeast coast, leading to a reduction of moisture flux into the decaying North American monsoon, and an increase in moisture flux into the Mid-Atlantic. Further, the Mid-Atlantic shows a relatively strong increase in the mid-tropospheric lapse rate. Thus, the unique combination of low-level humidity, potential instability, and elevated topography are consistent with an enhanced risk of intense rainfall during AMO+.

Keywords

Atlantic multidecadal oscillation Precipitation Extremes Drought Atmospheric circulation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by a NASA Energy and Water Cycle Study (NEWS) grant. The author would like to thank the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina University for a College Research Award, which made the study possible. The author would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

References

  1. Brooks HE, Lee JW, Craven JP (2003) The spatial distribution of severe thunderstorm and tornado environments from global reanalysis data. Atmos Res 67–68:73–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chelliah M, Bell GD (2004) Tropical multidecadal and interannual climate variability in the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis. J Clim 17:1777–1803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Delworth TL, Mann ME (2000) Observed and simulated multidecadal variability in the northern hemisphere. Clim Dyn 16:661–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dijkstra HA, Raa LT, Schmeits M, Gerrits J (2006) On the physics of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Ocean Dyn 56:36–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Enfield DB, Mestas-Nuñez AM, Trimble PJ (2001) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation and its relation to rainfall and river flows in the continental US Geophys Res Lett 28:2077–2080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goldenberg SB, Landsea CW, Mestas-Nuñez AM, Gray WM (2001) The recent increase in Atlantic hurricane activity: causes and implications. Science 293:474–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gray ST, Graumlich LJ, Betancourt JL, Pederson GT (2004) A tree-ring based reconstruction of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation since 1567 ad. Geophys Res Lett 31. doi:10.1029/2004GL019932Google Scholar
  8. Grosfeld K, Lohmann G, Rimbu N, Fraedrich K, Lunkeit F (2007) Atmospheric multidecadal variations in the North Atlantic realm: proxy data, observations, and atmospheric circulation model studies. Clim Past 3:39–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Helfand HM, Schubert SD (1995) Climatology of the simulated Great Plains low-level jet and its contribution to the moisture budget of the United States. J Clim 8:784–806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kerr RA (2000) A North Atlantic climate pacemaker for the centuries. Science 288:1984–1986CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Knight JR, Allan RJ, Folland CK, Vellinga M, Mann ME (2005) A signature of persistent natural thermohaline circulation cycles in observed climate. Geophys Res Lett 32. doi:10.1029/2005GL024233Google Scholar
  12. Kushnir Y (1994) Interdecadal variations in North Atlantic sea surface temperature and associated atmospheric conditions. J Clim 7:141–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mestas-Nuñez AM, Enfield DB (1999) Rotated global modes of non-ENSO sea surface temperature variability. J Clim 12:2734–2746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McCabe GJ, Palecki MA, Betancourt JL (2004) Pacific and Atlantic Ocean influences on multidecadal drought frequency in the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:4136–4141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Miralles-Wilhelm F, Trimble PJ, Podestá G, Letson D, Broad K (2005) Climate-based estimation of hydrologic inflow into Lake Okeechobee, Florida. J Water Resour Plann Manag-ASCE 131:394–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Oglesby RJ (1991) Springtime soil moisture, natural climatic variability, and North American drought as simulated by the NCAR community climate model 1. J Clim 4:890–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Schlesinger ME, Rammankutty N (1994) An oscillation in the global climate system of period 65–70 years. Nature 367:723–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schlesinger ME, Rammankutty N (1995) Is the recently reported 65- to 70-year surface-temperature oscillation the result of climatic noise?. J Geophys Res 100:13767–13774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sutton RT, Hodson DLR (2005) Atlantic Ocean forcing of North American and European summer climate. Science 309:115–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Trenberth KE, Shea DJ (2006) Atlantic hurricanes and natural variability in 2005. Geophys Res Lett 33. doi:10.1029/2006GL026894Google Scholar
  21. Van den Dool HM, Peng P, Johansson A, Chelliah M, Shabbar A, Saha A (2006) Seasonal-to-decadal predictability and prediction of North American climate—the Atlantic influence. J Clim 19:6005–6024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wang C, Enfield DB, Lee SK, Landsea CW (2006) Influences of the Atlantic warm pool on western hemisphere summer rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. J Clim 19:3011–3028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zhang R, Delworth TL (2006) Impact of Atlantic multidecadal oscillations on India/Sahel rainfall and Atlantic hurricanes. Geophys Res Lett 33. doi:10.1029/2006GL026267Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Atmospheric Science Laboratory, Department of GeographyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations