Cold Season Southwest Asia Precipitation Sensitivity to El Nino-Southern Oscillation Events
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Cold Season Southwest Asia Precipitation Sensitivity to El Nino-Southern Oscillation Events
  • Published Date:

    2018

  • Source:
    Journal of Climate, 31(11), 4463-4482.
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Cold Season Southwest Asia Precipitation Sensitivity to El Nino-Southern Oscillation Events
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  • Description:
    The sensitivity of southwest Asia (25 degrees-40 degrees N, 40 degrees-70 degrees E) precipitation during the November-April rainy season to four types of El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, eastern Pacific (EP) and central Pacific (CP) El Nino and La Nina, is assessed using an ensemble of atmospheric model simulations forced by 1979-2015 boundary conditions. Sensitivity is assessed in terms of 1) the spread of precipitation across the ensemble members around the ensemble mean, 2) the probability of precipitation falling into the upper and lower terciles of the historical distribution, and 3) the relationship between the tropical atmosphere and southwest Asia precipitation during ENSO. During CP La Nina, the magnitude of the below-average mean precipitation exceeds the magnitude of the precipitation spread, thereby conditioning the probability of lower-tercile southwest Asia precipitation to greater than 70%. By contrast, EP La Nina does not alter the odds of southwest Asia precipitation terciles, as the magnitude of the near-zero mean precipitation is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the precipitation spread. EP and CP El Nino similarly result in above-average mean precipitation whose magnitude approaches the magnitude of the precipitation spread, thereby conditioning the probability of upper-tercile southwest Asia precipitation to around 50% region-wide. However, the notable effect of the precipitation spread during El Nino allows for a 20%-30% probability that the regional precipitation falls into the lower tercile. ENSO types simultaneously modify the probability of eastern Indian Ocean precipitation and southwest Asia precipitation, supporting the hypothesis that the tropical eastern Indian Ocean atmosphere serves as the medium by which ENSO forcing is communicated to southwest Asia.
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