Trends, periodicities and ENSO relationships of the annual precipitation over the contiguous United States and Southern Canada
Keywords:ENSO, QBO, QTO, SOI, Decadal trends of precipitation
The century-long (1891-1990) time series of Groisman and Easterling (1994a,b) representing estimates of annual precipitation amounts over five homogeneous regions of the United States and Southern Canada (south of 55° N) were examined for trends, periodicities and ENSO relationships. The trends were not uniformly up or down during the 100-year interval, for any region. From 1891 to about 1930, the trends were downward or negligible. Thereafter, the trends were mostly upward, with cyclic variations superposed. A spectral analysis revealed significant periodicities in the QBO and QTO regions (2-3 years and 3-4 years) as also higher periodicities, some common to all regions and hence seen in the series for the entire region. To study the ENSO relationship, a finer classification of El Nino events was used. Each year was examined to check whether it had an El Nino (EN) and/or a Southern Oscillation Index SOI minimum (SO) and/or warm (W) or cold (C) equatorial eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures SST. Several years were ENSOW, which were further subdivided into two groups viz. Unambiguous ENSOW where El Nino existed and SOI minima and SST maxima were in the middle of the calendar year (May-Aug) and, Ambiguous ENSOW where El Nino existed but the SOI minima and SST maxima were in the early or late part of the calendar year, not in the middle. Other El Nino events were of the type ENSO, ENW, ENC, EN. For the All India summer monsoon rainfall, Unambiguous ENSOW were overwhelmingly associated with droughts. For the rainfall in USA and Canada, relationships were not clear-cut except in the Gulf-Mexico region and some other parts. For these regions, excess rains were associated better with the Unambiguous ENSOW.
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