An assessment of the potential predictability of drought over the United States based on climate model simulations with specified SST

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 4:00 PM
B216 (GWCC)
Siegfried Schubert, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and H. Wang, M. Suarez, and R. Koster

The USCLIVAR working group on drought recently initiated a series of global climate model simulations forced with idealized SST anomaly patterns, designed to address a number of uncertainties regarding the impact of SST forcing and the role of land-atmosphere feedbacks on regional drought. The runs were done with several global atmospheric models including NASA/NSIPP-1, NCEP/GFS, GFDL/AM2, and NCAR CCM3 and CAM3.5. Specific questions that the runs are designed to address include: What are mechanisms that maintain drought across the seasonal cycle and from one year to the next. To what extent can droughts develop independently of ocean variability due to year-to-year memory that may be inherent to the land. What is the role of the different ocean basins? Here we focus on the potential predictability of drought conditions over the United States. Specific issues addressed include the seasonality and regionality of the signal-to-noise ratios associated with Pacific and Atlantic SST forcing, and the sensitivity of the results to the climatological stationary waves simulated by the different AGCMs.