| Sustained Increases in Lower-Tropospheric Subsidence over the Central Tropical North Pacific Drive a Decline in High-Elevation Rainfall in Hawaii - :14575 | Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)
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Sustained Increases in Lower-Tropospheric Subsidence over the Central Tropical North Pacific Drive a Decline in High-Elevation Rainfall in Hawaii
  • Published Date:
    2015
  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 28(22), 8743-8759.
Filetype[PDF-1.66 MB]


Details:
  • Description:
    Consistent increases in the strength and frequency of occurrence of the trade wind inversion (TWI) are identified across a similar to 40-yr period (1973-2013) in Hawaii. Changepoint analysis indicates that a marked shift occurred in the early 1990s resulting in a 20% increase in the mean TWI frequency between the periods 1973-90 and 1991-2013, based on the average of changes at two sounding stations and two 6-month (dry and wet) seasons. Regional increases in the atmospheric subsidence are identified in four reanalysis datasets over the same similar to 40-yr time period. The post-1990 period mean for the NCEP-NCAR reanalysis shows increases in subsidence of 33% and 41% for the dry and wet seasons, respectively. Good agreement was found between the time series of TWI frequency of occurrence and omega, suggesting that previously reported increases in the intensity of Hadley cell subsidence are driving the observed increases in TWI frequency. Correlations between omega and large-scale modes of internal climate variability such as El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) do not explain the abrupt shift in TWI frequency in the early 1990s in both seasons. Reported increases in TWI frequency of occurrence may provide some explanation for climate change-related precipitation change at high elevations in Hawaii. On average, post-1990 rainfall was 6% lower in the dry season and 31% lower in the wet season at nine high-elevation sites. Rainfall was significantly correlated with TWI frequency at all of the stations analyzed.

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