The boundary that separates the humid East US from the semi-arid West is shifting eastward

The 100th meridian bisects the Great Plains of the United States and effectively divides the continent into more arid western and less arid eastern halves and is well expressed in terms of vegetation, land hydrology, crops, and the farm economy. Here, it is considered how this arid–humid divide will change in intensity and location during... Continue Reading →

Influence of global warming on U.S. heat waves may be felt first in the West and Great Lakes regions

Climate projections for the twenty-first century suggest an increase in the occurrence of heat waves. However, the time at which externally forced signals of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) emerge against background natural variability (time of emergence (ToE)) has been challenging to quantify, which makes future heat-wave projections uncertain. Here we combine observations and model simulations... Continue Reading →

Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes

Arctic amplification (AA) – the observed enhanced warming in high northern latitudes relative to the northern hemisphere – is evident in lower-tropospheric temperatures and in 1000-to-500 hPa thicknesses. Daily fields of 500 hPa heights from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Reanalysis are analyzed over N. America and the N. Atlantic to assess changes in north-south (Rossby)... Continue Reading →

Arctic report card: update for 2017

NOAA's Arctic program released Arctic Report Card Update for 2017. The report finds "Arctic shows no sign of returning to reliably frozen region of recent past decades", "The sea ice cover continues to be relatively young and thin with older, thicker ice comprising only 21% of the ice cover in 2017 compared to 45% in 1985.", and... Continue Reading →

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 →

An energetic perspective on United States tropical cyclone landfall droughts

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been extremely active both in terms of the strength of the tropical cyclones that have developed and the amount of storm activity that has occurred near the United States. This is even more notable as it comes at the end of an extended period of below normal U.S. hurricane... Continue Reading →

Increased rainfall volume from future convective storms in the US

Mesoscale convective system (MCS)-organized convective storms with a size of ~100 km have increased in frequency and intensity in the USA over the past 35 years, causing fatalities and economic losses. However, their poor representation in traditional climate models hampers the understanding of their change in the future. Here, a North American-scale convection-permitting model which is... Continue Reading →

A pan-tropical cascade of fire driven by El Niño – Southern Oscillation

The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has a pronounced influence on year-to-year variations in climate. The response of fires to this forcing is complex and has not been evaluated systematically across different continents. Here we use satellite data to create a climatology of burned-area and fire-emissions responses, drawing on six El Niño and six La Niña... Continue Reading →

Prolonged El Niño conditions in 2014–2015 and the rapid intensification of Hurricane Patricia in the eastern Pacific

Hurricane Patricia was the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the eastern North Pacific or Atlantic, reaching a peak intensity of 95 m s−1 only 30 h after attaining hurricane status (33 m s−1). Here it is shown that exceptionally warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs), a deeper than normal thermocline, and strong near-surface salinity stratification all aided Patricia's rapid... Continue Reading →

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