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Effect of remote forcings on the winter precipitation of central southwest Asia part 1: observations

Summary

We investigate the effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on winter precipitation in Central Southwest Asia (CSWA) using an analysis of available observed climate data. The analysis is based on correlations, composites and Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) performed using the gridded dataset of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and station data for the region. We find that both the NAO and ENSO affect climate over the region. In particular a positive precipitation anomaly is typically found in correspondence of the positive NAO phase and warm ENSO phase over a sub-region encompassing northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and southern Uzbekistan. This conclusion is supported by a consistency across the different analysis methods and observation datasets employed in our study. A physical mechanism for such effect is proposed, by which western disturbances are intensified over the region as they encounter a low pressure trough, which is a dominant feature during positive NAO and warm ENSO conditions. Our results give encouraging indications towards the development of statistically-based prediction tools for winter precipitation over the CSWA region.

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Syed, F., Giorgi, F., Pal, J. et al. Effect of remote forcings on the winter precipitation of central southwest Asia part 1: observations. Theor. Appl. Climatol. 86, 147–160 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-005-0217-1

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Keywords

  • Singular Value Decomposition
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • Winter Precipitation
  • Southern Oscillation Index
  • Climatic Research Unit