Impacts of the Madden-Julian oscillation on storm-track activity, surface air temperature, and precipitation over North America

Cheng Zheng, Edmund Kar Man Chang, Hye Mi Kim, Minghua Zhang, Wanqiu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, the intraseasonal variations in storm-track activity, surface air temperature, and precipitation over North America associated with the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO) in boreal winter (November-April) are investigated. A lag composite strategy that considers different MJO phases and different lag days is developed. The results highlight regions over which the MJO has significant impacts on surface weather on intraseasonal time scales. A north-south shift of storm-track activity associated with the MJO is found over North America. The shift is consistent with the MJO-related surface air temperature anomaly over the eastern United States. In many regions over the western, central, and southeastern United States, the MJO-related precipitation signal is also consistent with nearby storm-track activity. An MJO-related north-south shift of precipitation is also found near the west coast of North America, with the precipitation over California being consistent with the MJO-related storm-track activity over the eastern Pacific. MJO-related temperature and storm-track anomalies are also found near Alaska. Further analyses of streamfunction anomalies and wave activity flux show clear signatures of Rossby wave trains excited by convection anomalies related to MJO phases 3 and 8. These wave trains propagate across the Pacific and North America, bringing an anticyclonic (cyclonic) anomaly to the eastern part of North America, shifting the westerly jet to the north (south), thereby modulating the surface air temperature and storm-track activity over the continent. Rossby waves associated with phases 2 and 6 are also found to impact the U.S. West Coast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6113-6134
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume31
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments. This research has been conducted as part of the NOAA MAPP S2S Prediction Task Force and supported by NOAA Grant NA16OAR4310070. Kim was also supported by the KMA Research and Development Program under Grant KMI2018-03110. Zhang was also supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The authors would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for comments that have helped to clarify and improve this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Meteorological Society.

Keywords

  • Intraseasonal variability
  • Madden-Julian oscillation
  • Precipitation
  • Rossby waves
  • Storm tracks
  • Temperature

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