Influence of Large-Scale Flow Regimes on Cool-Season Precipitation in the Northeastern United States

Archambault, Heather M.; Bosart, Lance F.; Keyser, Daniel; Aiyyer, Anantha R.
August 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Aug2008, Vol. 136 Issue 8, p2945
Academic Journal
The influence of large-scale flow regimes on cool-season (November–April) northeastern U.S. (Northeast) precipitation is investigated for the period 1948–2003 from statistical and synoptic perspectives. These perspectives are addressed through (i) a statistical analysis of cool-season Northeast precipitation associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Pacific–North American (PNA) regimes (one standard deviation or greater NAO or PNA daily index anomalies persisting several days), and (ii) a composite analysis of the synoptic signatures of major (two standard deviation) 24-h cool-season Northeast precipitation events occurring during NAO and PNA regimes. The statistical analysis reveals that negative PNA regimes are associated with above-average cool-season Northeast precipitation and an above-average frequency of light and moderate precipitation events, whereas the opposite associations are true for positive PNA regimes. In comparison with PNA regimes, NAO regimes are found to have relatively little influence on the amount and frequency of cool-season Northeast precipitation. The composite analysis indicates that a surface cyclone flanked by an upstream trough over the Ohio Valley and downstream ridge over eastern Canada and upper- and lower-level jets in the vicinity of the Northeast are characteristic signatures of major cool-season Northeast precipitation events occurring during NAO and PNA regimes. Negative NAO and positive PNA precipitation events, however, are associated with a more amplified trough–ridge pattern and greater implied Atlantic moisture transport by a low-level jet into the Northeast than positive NAO and negative PNA precipitation events. Furthermore, a signature of lateral upper-level jet coupling is noted only during positive and negative PNA precipitation events.


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