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Precipitation, Temperature, and Teleconnection Signals across the Combined North American, Monsoon Asia, and Old World Drought Atlases

Baek, Seung Hun; Smerdon, Jason E.; Coats, Sloan John; Williams, A. Park; Cook, Benjamin I.; Cook, Edward R.; Seager, Richard

The tree-ring-based North American Drought Atlas (NADA), Monsoon Asia Drought Atlas (MADA), and Old World Drought Atlas (OWDA) collectively yield a near-hemispheric gridded reconstruction of hydroclimate variability over the last millennium. To test the robustness of the large-scale representation of hydroclimate variability across the drought atlases, the joint expression of seasonal climate variability and teleconnections in the NADA, MADA, and OWDA are compared against two global, observation-based PDSI products. Predominantly positive (negative) correlations are determined between seasonal precipitation (surface air temperature) and collocated tree-ring-based PDSI, with average Pearson’s correlation coefficients increasing in magnitude from boreal winter to summer. For precipitation, these correlations tend to be stronger in the boreal winter and summer when calculated for the observed PDSI record, while remaining similar for temperature. Notwithstanding these differences, the drought atlases robustly express teleconnection patterns associated with El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO), and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO). These expressions exist in the drought atlas estimates of boreal summer PDSI despite the fact that these modes of climate variability are dominant in boreal winter, with the exception of the AMO. ENSO and NAO teleconnection patterns in the drought atlases are particularly consistent with their well-known dominant expressions in boreal winter and over the OWDA domain, respectively. Collectively, the findings herein confirm that the joint Northern Hemisphere drought atlases robustly reflect large-scale patterns of hydroclimate variability on seasonal to multidecadal time scales over the twentieth century and are likely to provide similarly robust estimates of hydroclimate variability prior to the existence of widespread instrumental data.

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Published In
Journal of Climate
Publisher DOI
https://doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0766.1
Volume
30
Issue
18
Pages
7141 - 7155
Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
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