Interannual and interdecadal variability in the predominant Pacific region SST anomaly patterns and their impact on climate in the mid-Mississippi valley region

A. R. LUPO, E. P. KELSEY, D. K. WEITLICH, J. E. WOOLARD, I. I. MOKHOV, P. E. GUINAN, F. A. AKYÜZ

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that Pacific Region SSTs and SST anomalies can be separated into seven general synoptic classifications (clusters) (A-G). Clusters B and G (C, D, and F) [A and E] were shown to be generally representative of La Niña (El Niño) [neutral] type SST distributions. Further, an analysis of the SST patterns in 1955-1993 demonstrated that clusters A-D were prominent in 1955-1977, while types E and F dominated the later period. Type G clusters were comparatively rare, but occurred during both periods. In retrospect, this shift during 1977 corresponds roughly with a change in phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). After updating the analysis to include the 1994 to 2005 period, there was a corresponding change in the predominant SSTs associated with a change in phase of the PDO during 1999 and 2000. The results show that SST patterns did evolve from predominantly E and F-type anomalies in 1994 to A, B, D and G-type anomalies through 2005. Thus, these results suggest that A through D-type (C, E, and F-type) SST clusters are characteristic of the negative (positive) phase of the PDO. Also, using a modified technique for generating phase diagrams, it is shown that there are interannual and interdecadal variations in the mid-Mississippi region monthly mean surface temperature and precipitation records that can be associated with the ENSO and PDO. Additionally, an analysis was performed to see if there was any statistical association between temperature and precipitation anomalies in the mid-Mississippi region and prolonged SST regimes. B, D and G anomalies were associated with warmer-than-normal conditions, while C and E type anomalies tended to be associated with cooler-than-normal conditions across the region. C, D, F, and G anomalies were associated with drier than normal conditions.

Keywords

Interannual variations; El Niño; sea surface temperatures; climate; climate variations

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