The dominant synoptic-scale modes of North American monsoon precipitation

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24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study, we explore the mechanisms of synoptic rainfall variability using observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite. Although previously shown to have an important impact on North American monsoon rainfall, tropical cyclones are excluded from this analysis, in order to focus on more frequent synoptic disturbances within the region. A rotated empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of North American monsoon rainfall during June to September 2002-2009 suggests that low-level tropical disturbances contribute to the leading two modes of precipitation variability within this region. These disturbances result in gulf surges or low-level surges of moisture up the Gulf of California, and provide a key moisture source to facilitate the development of organized convection. In the first mode, the low-level trough brings precipitation to lower elevations along the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental south of Hermosillo, Mexico and over the southern Baja Peninsula. In the second mode, the low-level trough interacts with an upper-level inverted trough enhancing precipitation into the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. In particular, the upper-level trough contributes to the easterly to northeasterly shear across the region, favouring mesoscale convective organization and enhanced deep convection over the Sierra Madre Occidental and higher elevations in southeast Arizona. The EOF methodology offers an objective approach for determining the dominant modes of precipitation for the monsoon region useful for identifying past and monitoring future low-frequency impacts on these modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2014

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trough
monsoon
disturbance
rainfall
convection
moisture
TRMM
tropical cyclone
methodology
monitoring
gulf
empirical orthogonal function analysis

Keywords

  • Easterly waves
  • Gulf surge
  • Mesoscale convective systems
  • North American monsoon
  • Upper-level inverted troughs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

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title = "The dominant synoptic-scale modes of North American monsoon precipitation",
abstract = "In this study, we explore the mechanisms of synoptic rainfall variability using observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite. Although previously shown to have an important impact on North American monsoon rainfall, tropical cyclones are excluded from this analysis, in order to focus on more frequent synoptic disturbances within the region. A rotated empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of North American monsoon rainfall during June to September 2002-2009 suggests that low-level tropical disturbances contribute to the leading two modes of precipitation variability within this region. These disturbances result in gulf surges or low-level surges of moisture up the Gulf of California, and provide a key moisture source to facilitate the development of organized convection. In the first mode, the low-level trough brings precipitation to lower elevations along the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental south of Hermosillo, Mexico and over the southern Baja Peninsula. In the second mode, the low-level trough interacts with an upper-level inverted trough enhancing precipitation into the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. In particular, the upper-level trough contributes to the easterly to northeasterly shear across the region, favouring mesoscale convective organization and enhanced deep convection over the Sierra Madre Occidental and higher elevations in southeast Arizona. The EOF methodology offers an objective approach for determining the dominant modes of precipitation for the monsoon region useful for identifying past and monitoring future low-frequency impacts on these modes.",
keywords = "Easterly waves, Gulf surge, Mesoscale convective systems, North American monsoon, Upper-level inverted troughs",
author = "Simona Seastrand and Yolande Serra and Christopher Castro and Ritchie, {Elizabeth A}",
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language = "English (US)",
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AU - Seastrand, Simona

AU - Serra, Yolande

AU - Castro, Christopher

AU - Ritchie, Elizabeth A

PY - 2014

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N2 - In this study, we explore the mechanisms of synoptic rainfall variability using observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite. Although previously shown to have an important impact on North American monsoon rainfall, tropical cyclones are excluded from this analysis, in order to focus on more frequent synoptic disturbances within the region. A rotated empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of North American monsoon rainfall during June to September 2002-2009 suggests that low-level tropical disturbances contribute to the leading two modes of precipitation variability within this region. These disturbances result in gulf surges or low-level surges of moisture up the Gulf of California, and provide a key moisture source to facilitate the development of organized convection. In the first mode, the low-level trough brings precipitation to lower elevations along the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental south of Hermosillo, Mexico and over the southern Baja Peninsula. In the second mode, the low-level trough interacts with an upper-level inverted trough enhancing precipitation into the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. In particular, the upper-level trough contributes to the easterly to northeasterly shear across the region, favouring mesoscale convective organization and enhanced deep convection over the Sierra Madre Occidental and higher elevations in southeast Arizona. The EOF methodology offers an objective approach for determining the dominant modes of precipitation for the monsoon region useful for identifying past and monitoring future low-frequency impacts on these modes.

AB - In this study, we explore the mechanisms of synoptic rainfall variability using observations from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite. Although previously shown to have an important impact on North American monsoon rainfall, tropical cyclones are excluded from this analysis, in order to focus on more frequent synoptic disturbances within the region. A rotated empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of North American monsoon rainfall during June to September 2002-2009 suggests that low-level tropical disturbances contribute to the leading two modes of precipitation variability within this region. These disturbances result in gulf surges or low-level surges of moisture up the Gulf of California, and provide a key moisture source to facilitate the development of organized convection. In the first mode, the low-level trough brings precipitation to lower elevations along the western slopes of the Sierra Madre Occidental south of Hermosillo, Mexico and over the southern Baja Peninsula. In the second mode, the low-level trough interacts with an upper-level inverted trough enhancing precipitation into the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. In particular, the upper-level trough contributes to the easterly to northeasterly shear across the region, favouring mesoscale convective organization and enhanced deep convection over the Sierra Madre Occidental and higher elevations in southeast Arizona. The EOF methodology offers an objective approach for determining the dominant modes of precipitation for the monsoon region useful for identifying past and monitoring future low-frequency impacts on these modes.

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KW - Upper-level inverted troughs

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