AbstractCentral southwest Asia (CSWA; 20°–47°N, 40°–85°E) is a water-stressed region prone to significant variations in precipitation during its winter precipitation season of November–April. Wintertime precipitation is crucial for regional water resources, agriculture, and livelihood; however, in recent years droughts have been a notable feature of CSWA interannual variability. Here, the predictability of CSWA wintertime precipitation is explored based on its time-lagged relationship with the preceding months’ (September–October) sea surface temperature (SST), using a canonical correlation analysis (CCA) approach. For both periods, results indicate that for CSWA much of the seasonal predictability arises from SST variations in the Pacific related to El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO). Additional sources of skill that play a weaker predictive role include long-term SST trends, North Atlantic variability, and regional teleconnections. CCA cross-validation skill shows that the regional potential predictability has a strong dependency on the ENSO phenomenon, and the strengthening (weakening) of this relationship yields forecasts with higher (lower) predictive skill. This finding is validated by the mean cross-validated correlation skill of 0.71 and 0.38 obtained for the 1980/81–2014/15 and 1950/51–2014/15 CCA analyses, respectively. The development of cold (warm) ENSO conditions during September–October, in combination with cold (warm) PDO conditions, is associated with a northward (southward) shift of the jet stream and a strong tendency of negative (positive) winter precipitation anomalies; other sources of predictability influence the regional precipitation directly during non-ENSO years or by modulating the impact of ENSO teleconnection based on their relative strengths.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jan 27, 2018
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