Many studies have shown the importance of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in contributing to observed upward trends in the occurrences of temperature extremes over the U.S. However, few studies have investigated the contributions of internal variability in the climate system to these observed trends. Here we use daily maximum temperature time series from the North American Land Data Assimilation System Phase 2 (NLDAS-2) dataset to identify trends in seasonal warm anomalies over the contiguous U.S. in the three most recent decades and explore their relationships to low-frequency modes of internal climate variability. The results reveal substantial upward trends in the frequency of warm anomalies in all seasons and in all regions of the U.S., except for portions of the Intermountain West in winter where significant downward trends occur. The strengths and regional coverage of the trends, however, differ considerably by season. These trends can be explained, in part, by the large-scale anomalous atmospheric circulations associated with low-frequency sea-surface temperature oscillations characterized by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The association between the upward trends in the seasonal warm anomalies and PDO and AMO is further confirmed by the century-long (1871–2012) Twentieth Century Reanalysis dataset.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2018
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