Long-term changes in the climatology of transient inverted troughs over the North American monsoon region and their effects on precipitation

Timothy M. Lahmers, Christopher L. Castro, David K. Adams, Yolande L. Serra, John J. Brost, Thang Luong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transient inverted troughs (IVs) are a trigger for severeweather during theNorthAmericanmonsoon (NAM) in the southwest contiguous United States (CONUS) and northwest Mexico. These upper-tropospheric disturbances enhance the synoptic-scale and mesoscale environment for organized convection, increasing the chances for microbursts, straight-line winds, blowing dust, and flash flooding. This work considers changes in the track density climatology of IVs between 1951 and 2010. IVs are tracked as potential vorticity (PV) anomalies on the 250-hPa surface from a regional climate model that dynamically downscales the NCEP- NCAR Reanalysis 1. Late in the NAM season, a significant increase in IV track density over the 60-yr period is observed over Southern California and western Arizona, coupled with a slight decrease over northwest Mexico. Changes in precipitation are evaluated on days when an IV is observed and days without an IV, using high-resolution model-simulated precipitation estimates and CPC gridded precipitation observations. Because of changes in the spatial distribution of IVs during the 1951-2010 analysis period, which are associated with a strengthening of the monsoon ridge, it is suggested that IVs have played a lesser role in the initiation and organization of monsoon convection in the southwest CONUS during recent warm seasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6037-6064
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume29
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Atm/Ocean Structure/Phenomena
  • Circulation/Dynamics
  • Mesoscale models
  • Mesoscale processes
  • Models and modeling
  • Monsoons
  • Regional models
  • Synoptic-scale processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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