On the fragile relationship between El Niño and California rainfall

This study newly accepted in Geophysical Research Letters examined why California experienced extremely wet winter and spring conditions during the 1997-98 and 1982-83 El Niños, but near normal rainfall during the extremely strong 2015-16 El Niño. Statistical data analyses and simple model experiments were used to show that sufficiently warm and persistent sea surface temperature anomalies... Continue Reading →

Interannual variability of western North Pacific SST anomalies and its impact on North Pacific and North America

In this study, the interannual variability of sea surface temperature (SST) and its atmospheric teleconnection over the western North Pacific (WNP) toward the North Pacific/North America during boreal winter are investigated. First, we defined the WNP mode as the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF) mode of SST anomalies over the WNP region (100–165°E, 0–35°N), of... Continue Reading →

El Niño-like teleconnection increases California precipitation in response to warming

Future California (CA) precipitation projections, including those from the most recent Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), remain uncertain. This uncertainty is related to several factors, including relatively large internal climate variability, model shortcomings, and because CA lies within a transition zone, where mid-latitude regions are expected to become wetter and subtropical regions drier. Here, we... Continue Reading →

Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall

From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential... Continue Reading →

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