AbstractMany studies have used observational data to explore associations between El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and western North America (NA) hydroclimate at regional spatial scales. However, relationships between tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) variability and western NA hydroclimate at local scales using reanalysis data are less understood. Here, the current understanding of relationships between large-scale tropical Pacific SST variability and western NA hydroclimate is extended to localized headwaters. To accomplish this, high-resolution reanalysis data (i.e., monthly mean surface precipitation rate, 2-m temperature, 850-mb specific humidity, and 500-mb omega) were used for gridpoint correlation analyses with Niño-3.4 SST and El Niño Modoki indices. Reanalysis time series data were provided by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) product. To validate the accuracy of NARR surface data, observational Livneh precipitation and temperature data were used. Resulting correlations between tropical Pacific indices and NARR surface precipitation and 2-m temperature are consistent with previous research both spatially and temporally, indicating that the strongest correlations occur primarily over southwestern NA during the winter (DJF). The results herein demonstrate the potential of high-resolution reanalysis data to reveal distinct correlations over topographically complex watersheds in the U.S. Intermountain West (IMW) over the recent record, 1979–2015. The use of the high-resolution NARR product as a viable option to explore western NA hydroclimate is demonstrated here.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 6, 2017
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