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The forcing of monthly precipitation variability over Southwest Asia during the Boreal cold season

September 1, 2015

Southwest Asia, deemed as the region containing the countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan, is water scarce and receives nearly 75% of its annual rainfall during8 the boreal cold season of November-April. The forcing of Southwest Asia precipitation has been previously examined for the entire boreal cold season from the perspective of climate variability originating over the Atlantic and tropical Indo-Pacific Oceans. Here, we examine the inter-monthly differences in precipitation variability over Southwest Asia and the atmospheric conditions directly responsible in forcing monthly November-April precipitation. Seasonally averaged November-April precipitation over Southwest Asia is significantly correlated with sea surface temperature (SST) patterns consistent with Pacific Decadal Variability (PDV), the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the warming trend of SST (Trend). On the contrary, the precipitation variability during individual months of November-April are unrelated and are correlated with SST signatures that include PDV, ENSO and Trend in different combinations. Despite strong inter-monthly differences in precipitation variability during November- April over Southwest Asia, similar atmospheric circulations, highlighted by a stationary equivalent barotropic Rossby wave centered over Iraq, force the monthly spatial distributions of precipitation. Tropospheric waves on the eastern side of the equivalent barotropic Rossby wave modifies the flux of moisture and advects the mean temperature gradient, resulting in temperature advection that is balanced by vertical motions over Southwest Asia. The forcing of monthly Southwest Asia precipitation by equivalent barotropic Rossby waves is different than the forcing by baroclinic Rossby waves associated with tropically-forced-only modes of climate variability.

Publication Year 2015
Title The forcing of monthly precipitation variability over Southwest Asia during the Boreal cold season
DOI 10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00757.1
Authors Andrew Hoell, Shraddhanand Shukla, Mathew Barlow, Forest Cannon, Colin Kelley, Christopher C. Funk
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Climate
Index ID 70157198
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center