A physical mechanism of the precipitation dipole in the western United States based on PDO-storm track relationship

Mi Kyung Sung, Soon Il An, Baek Min Kim, Sung Ho Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is known that the western United States (US) precipitation displays a north-south contrast, i.e., the so-called "precipitation dipole," during El Niño and La Niña winters. Furthermore, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has been known to modulate this precipitation dipole. However, the underlying physical mechanism regulating this modulation is not well understood. This study revisits previous studies and suggests a physical mechanism of precipitation dipole modulation based on the PDO-storm track relationship. We found that both jet stream and storm track tend to move northward (southward) over the North Pacific during negative (positive) PDO winters, contributing to the increase of precipitation over the northwestern (southwestern) US, respectively. This relationship is robust regardless of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), possibly facilitating modulation of the precipitation dipole. Moreover, changes in oceanic baroclinicity associated with the PDO phase are suggested to be responsible for anchorage of storm tracks over the North Pacific. Key Points Why we have a high correlation between the PDO and precipitation dipole PDO-storm track mechanism as an explanation to the precipitation dipole PDO-storm track relationship is robust regardless of ENSO teleconnection

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4719-4726
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume41
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jul 16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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