Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Precipitation variability in Northeast, Southwest linked in 1,000-year analysis

Date:
November 11, 2011
Source:
University of Rhode Island
Summary:
An analysis of precipitation data collected from a lakebed in New York and a Rhode Island estuary has provided a link between the variability of precipitation in the Northeast with that of the Southwest. The results validate climate models that predict an increasing number of extreme weather events.

An analysis of precipitation data collected from a lakebed in New York and a Rhode Island estuary has provided a link between the variability of precipitation in the Northeast with that of the Southwest. The results validate climate models that predict an increasing number of extreme weather events.

The research was published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Oct. 19.

Former URI graduate student J. Bradford Hubeny, currently an assistant professor of geological sciences at Salem State University, and John King, a professor in the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography, reconstructed the precipitation record from Green Lake in Fayetteville, N.Y., and the Pettaquamscutt River estuary in Narragansett, R.I. They found that the moisture patterns at these sites were similar and correlated with the Pacific/North American pattern, a large-scale weather pattern that circulates from the North Pacific Ocean across North America.

"Really long droughts and extended wet periods appear to occur at a continental scale," said King. "We can see that the records of droughts in the Southwest extend all the way to eastern North America."

Added Hubeny, "The same phase of the Pacific/North American pattern that would bring us dry conditions in the Northeast would also bring dry conditions to the Southwest."

The scientists noted that while their research found a strong connection between the climate in the Northeast and Southwest, that doesn't necessarily mean that both regions will experience the same conditions.

Hubeny and King reconstructed the precipitation record by examining the thickness of annual sediment layers called varves, somewhat like tree rings, which relate to the amount of precipitation in a given year.

"The strength of going back 1,000 years is that we can look at the natural variability in the precipitation record," Hubeny said. "What we can see from the last 150 to 200 years are changes in the natural pattern that could represent human impact on climate.

"At first glance, precipitation variability might seem random, and to some extent it is. But there are also global patterns that are predictable," he explained. "The more we can understand these patterns, the more we can help to quantify climate models and cycles."

According to the scientists, the objective of studies such as this is to provide improved predictive capabilities of future climate. The strong relationship this study provides between the meteorological record and the geological record will help make climate forecasts more accurate.

"We've confirmed the recent trend toward a more meridional circulation pattern, which increases the frequency of flooding and decreases the frequency of droughts in the Northeast," King said. "The unusual weather is going to become more usual. The good news is that we probably won't have mega-droughts like they're experiencing in other parts of the country, but we will be in for more extreme weather events."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. B. Hubeny, J. W. King, M. Reddin. Northeast US precipitation variability and North American climate teleconnections interpreted from late Holocene varved sediments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; 108 (44): 17895 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1019301108

Cite This Page:

University of Rhode Island. "Precipitation variability in Northeast, Southwest linked in 1,000-year analysis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201542.htm>.
University of Rhode Island. (2011, November 11). Precipitation variability in Northeast, Southwest linked in 1,000-year analysis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201542.htm
University of Rhode Island. "Precipitation variability in Northeast, Southwest linked in 1,000-year analysis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108201542.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: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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