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Climate Dynamics

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El Niño Current -- Research


This study investigates how the El Niño phase (EN) of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) modulation of cool-season North Pacific atmospheric rivers (ARs) and associated AR-landfall North American precipitation between 1980 and 2020. EN changes the key drivers of MJO-AR connections by shifting MJO-driven convection east of 180° in MJO phases 6–8 and extending the northern Pacific subtropical jet eastward. Under these conditions, the MJO tropical-extratropical teleconnection is triggered east of 180° in phases 7–8, and a persistent cyclonic flow anomaly develops along the United States west coast. Anomalous northeastward integrated water vapor transport (IVT) within the cyclonic flow coupled with the MJO convection over the western (phase 7) and central (phase 8) Pacific increases AR frequency, shifting it to the east over regions that do not show a relationship with EN or MJO alone. Besides enhancing AR activity, EN background conditions increase the number of AR events, their lifetime, and mean intensity from MJO phases 6 through 8, as well as the number of MJO active days, AR initiations, and ARs making landfall over North America in phases 8 − 1. The positive precipitation anomalies and increased frequency of extreme precipitation events associated with landfalling North Pacific ARs related to MJO are also shifted to the east in EN, enhancing and extending rainfall over western North America in phases 6 − 1. Results provide new insight into the drivers of AR activity and associated precipitation along the west coast of North America with implications for improving subseasonal-to-seasonal predictions.


© Copyright the author(s) 2024



This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as: Does El Niño affect MJO-AR connections over the North Pacific and associated North American precipitation?. Clim Dyn (2024).



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