Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Temperature Of Pacific Ocean Influences Midwest Rains, Scholar Says

Date:
September 11, 1997
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
A correlation between summertime sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and precipitation rates in the Great Plains may lead to improved seasonal predictions of drought and flood potentials, researchers at the University of Illinois report.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A correlation between summertime sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and precipitation rates in the Great Plains may lead to improved seasonal predictions of drought and flood potentials, researchers at the University of Illinois report.

"The flood of 1993 and the drought of 1988 raised serious questions about the causes of summertime climatic fluctuations over the central United States," said Mingfang Ting, professor of atmospheric sciences at the U. of I. "The closer we come to answering those questions, the better our predictions will become. That should lessen the tremendous socio-economic impacts caused by severe floods and droughts."

To identify a clearer cause-and-effect relationship between ocean and atmosphere, Ting and graduate student Hui Wang analyzed climatological data gathered from 1950 to 1990. Included in the study were precipitation measurements collected throughout the Midwest and sea-surface temperatures from both the tropical and northern regions of the Pacific Ocean. In general, the warmer the ocean, the wetter the weather, the researchers found.

But it's not a simple matter of moisture evaporating from the Pacific Ocean being dropped over the Great Plains, Ting said. "Because the mountains along the West Coast effectively block most of the moisture arriving from the Pacific Ocean, the moisture source for the central United States is actually the Gulf of Mexico. So, the temperature of the Pacific Ocean is also influencing the moisture transport from the Gulf of Mexico."

Ting believes the sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean affect both the position and the intensity of the jet stream over the central United States, which in turn modifies the circulation pattern from the gulf. "Warmer sea-surface temperatures shift the jet stream farther south, leading to more storm activity, which pumps more moisture up from the gulf," Ting said. "In contrast, cooler sea-surface temperatures shift the jet stream farther north, resulting in reduced storm activity and drier conditions."

While meteorologists have long recognized a connection between abnormally warm or cold conditions in the tropical Pacific and precipitation rates over the United States, Ting said the relationship does not account for all the fluctuations that appeared in the 40-year study. A much stronger correlation exists between the sea-surface temperatures in the north Pacific and rainfall over the Great Plains.

"Currently, only tropical Pacific sea-surface temperatures are being plugged into the forecast model to make seasonal precipitation predictions," Ting said. "By also including the north Pacific msea-surface temperatures, I think we can obtain more accurate predictions."

The researchers' findings appeared in the August issue of the Journal of Climate.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Temperature Of Pacific Ocean Influences Midwest Rains, Scholar Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970911034536.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (1997, September 11). Temperature Of Pacific Ocean Influences Midwest Rains, Scholar Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970911034536.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Temperature Of Pacific Ocean Influences Midwest Rains, Scholar Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/09/970911034536.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins