El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) related precipitation anomalies in North America are related to changes in the paths of storm systems across the Pacific Ocean, with a more southern route into southwestern North America during El Niños and a more northern route into the Pacific Northwest during La Niñas. Daily reanalysis data are analyzed to confirm these changes. Seasonal mean upper tropospheric eddy statistics show, for El Niños (La Niñas), a pattern that is shifted southward (northward) compared with climatology. Paths of coherent phase propagation of transient eddies and of the propagation of wave packets are analyzed.Acoherentpath of propagation across the Pacific towards North America is identified that is more zonal during El Niño winters and, during La Niñas, has a dominant path heading northeastward to the Pacific Northwest. A second path heading southeastward from the central Pacific to the tropical east Pacific is more accentuated during La Niñas than El Niños. These changes in wave propagation are reproduced in an ensemble of seasonal integrations of a general circulation model forced by a tropical Pacific sea-surface temperature pattern, confirming that the changes are forced by changes in the mean atmospheric state arising from changes in tropical sea-surface temperature. A simplified model with a specified basic state is used to model the storm tracks for El Niño and La Niña winters. The results suggest that the changes in transient eddy propagation and the eddy statistics can be understood in terms of the refraction of transient eddies within different basic states.
|Number of pages||20|
|Journal||Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society|
|State||Published - Jan 2010|
- Transient eddy-mean-flow interaction