Atlantic Multidecadal Variability as a modulator of the precipitation variability in the continental US

Lee, Dong Eun; Ting, Mingfang; Vigaud, Nicolas; Kushnir, Yochanan; Barnston, Anthony G.

Two independent atmospheric general circulation models reveal that the positive (negative) phase of Atlantic multidecadal variability (AMV) can reduce (amplify) the variance of the shorter time-scale (e.g., ENSO related) precipitation fluctuations in the United States, especially in the Southwest, as well as decrease (increase) the long-term seasonal mean precipitation for the cold season. The variance is modulated because of changes in 1) dry day frequency and 2) maximum daily rainfall intensity. With positive AMV forcing, the upper-level warming originating from the increased precipitation over the tropical Atlantic Ocean changes the mean vertical thermal structure over the United States continent to a profile less favorable for rain-inducing upward motions. In addition, a northerly low-level dry advection associated with the local overturning leaves less available column moisture for condensation and precipitation. The opposite conditions occur during cold AMV periods.

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Also Published In

Journal of Climate

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
June 1, 2021