Winter precipitation variability and large-scale circulation patterns in Romania
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The spatial and temporal variability of winter precipitation and its links to the large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns in Romania are examined. The data set is composed of observed rainfall at 30 meteorological stations during the 1961–1996 period. The large-scale field is represented by the observed geopotential height at 500 hPa (Z500) over the same period, covering the latitudinal belt between 20° N–90° N (resolution 2.5°×2.5°).
The Standard Normal Homogeneity Test (SNHT) is applied to detect inhomogeneities in the data, and the Mann-Kendall and Pettitt non-parametric tests are used in order to identify trends and change points in the winter precipitation time series. The empirical orthogonal functions (EOF) technique is used for data reduction in order to highlight the basic patterns of rainfall variability in Romania. The covariance map between precipitation EOF time series (PCs) and the Z500 field, as well as the correlation coefficients between the PCs and circulation indices are calculated in order to identify the influence of large-scale circulation patterns on winter precipitation in Romania.
A significant decreasing trend is identified in winter precipitation with a downward shift in winter 1969/1970, most significant from a statistical point of view in the extra-Carpathian region. This change seems to be real since the SNHT test does not reveal any inhomogeneity during the period tested. Significant relationships are found between winter precipitation variability in Romania and the large-scale circulation pattern, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation and the blocking phenomenon in the Atlantic-European sector. The positive phase of the NAO and the reduction in blocking activity could be one of the causes of the decrease in winter precipitation in Romania.
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