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U.S. Great Basin Precipitation and Its Pacific Ocean Connections

Paper Reviewed
Smith, K., Strong, C. and Wang, S.-Y. 2015. Connectivity between historical Great Basin precipitation and Pacific Ocean Variability: A CMIP5 model evaluation. Journal of Climate 28: 6096-6112.

Working with 20 CMIP5 climate models, Smith et al. (2015) conducted a model comparison that focused on the inter-annual to multi-decadal connections between historical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and U.S. Great Basin (GB) precipitation. More specifically, as they described it, the three researchers evaluated the historical connectivity between GB precipitation and Pacific Ocean SSTs on inter-annual to multi-decadal time scales, which work revealed that the simulated influence of these two modes on GB precipitation tended to be (1) too strong for ENSO and (2) too weak for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation or PDO.

In addition, the three researchers found that (3) "few models captured the connectivity at a quasi-decadal period influenced by the transition phase of the Pacific quasi-decadal oscillation (QDO; a recently identified climate mode that influences GB precipitation)." And they went on to also note that (4) "some of the discrepancies appear to stem from models not capturing the observed tendency for the PDO to modulate the sign of the ENSO-GB precipitation teleconnection."

Posted 9 December 2015