8.4 An Intraseasonal Mode of Atmospheric Variability Relevant to the U.S. Extreme Precipitation in Boreal Summer: Dynamic Origin and East Asia Connection

Wednesday, 9 January 2019: 9:15 AM
North 122BC (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Siyu Zhao, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA; and Y. Deng and R. X. Black

Handout (3.0 MB)

Intraseasonal modes of atmospheric variability over the Northern Hemisphere (NH) midlatitudes in boreal summer are identified via an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of the daily 10–90 day bandpass-filtered 250 hPa streamfunction for the period of 1950–2016. The first two EOF modes are characterized, respectively, by (i) a single-signed streamfunction anomaly that extends across the NH and (ii) a regional dipole structure with centers over the Aleutian Islands and northeastern Pacific. The third EOF mode (EOF-3) is a quasi-stationary wave train over the Pacific-North American sector with an equivalent barotropic structure in the vertical. EOF-3 is associated with a northwest-southeast oriented extreme precipitation dipole over the United States. A nonmodal instability analysis of the boreal summer climatological flow in terms of the 250 hPa streamfunction reveals that one of the top “optimal mode” disturbances mimicking the EOF-3 structure grows from an initial precursor disturbance over East Asia through extracting kinetic energy from background flow and attains its maximum amplitude in around 9 days. An additional lag regression analysis illustrates that anomalous latent heating associated with cloud and precipitation formation over East Asia is responsible for generating the precursor disturbance for the EOF-3-like optimal mode. This result suggests the existence of an important connection between the hydrological cycles of East Asia and North America, which is dynamically intrinsic to the boreal summer upper tropospheric flow. Knowledge of such a connection will help us better understand and model extreme precipitation events over these two continents.
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