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Inferenced oceanic Kelvin/Russby wave influence on North American West Coast precipitation
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  • Description:
    The complex interaction of coupled ocean-atmosphere processes is still far from being completely understood, and documented. This Technical Attachment documents a nonclassic, oceanic Kelvin/Rossby wave conceptual model to partially explain above normal 1994-1996 precipitation patterns along the North American west coast. The proposed conceptual model focuses on an eastern Pacific past-El Nino heat transfer mechanism associated with oceanic Kelvin/Rossby waves that potentially affect preferential atmospheric forcing, resulting in selectively focused offshore storm track and moisture advection trajectories. Synergistic components of this model thereby have the potential to enhance (or reduce) U.S. west coast interannual precipitation. The magnitude of U.S. west coast flood damages incurred during the winters of 94/95 and 95196 imply that analysis and assimilation of this proposed conceptual oceanic Kelvin/Rossby wave interaction may be worth considering in order to improve accuracy in forecast expectations for timing and placement of both above and below normal west coast annual .and interannual precipitation. Other implications resulting from this research also include: 1) the imminent necessity of incorporating a multidisciplinary, combined earth systems approach in west coast precipitation forecasting; and 2) a concluding argument regarding the continued necessity for in situ oceanic observation programs beyond tropical latitudes.
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