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Linking the North Atlantic Oscillation to winter precipitation over the Western Himalaya through disturbances of the subtropical jet

Hunt, K. M. R. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1480-3755 and Zaz, S. N. (2022) Linking the North Atlantic Oscillation to winter precipitation over the Western Himalaya through disturbances of the subtropical jet. Climate Dynamics. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-022-06450-7

Abstract/Summary

Winter (December to March) precipitation is vital to the agriculture and water security of the Western Himalaya. This precipitation is largely brought to the region by extratropical systems, known as western disturbances (WDs), which are embedded in the subtropical jet. In this study, using seventy years of data, it is shown that during positive phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO+) the subtropical jet is significantly more intense than during negative phases (NAO-). Accordingly, it is shown that the NAO significantly affects WD behaviour on interannual timescales: during NAO+ periods, WDs are on average 20% more common and 7% more intense than during NAO- periods. This results in 40% more moisture flux entering the region and impinging on the Western Himalaya and an average increase in winter precipitation of 45% in NAO+ compared to NAO-. Using empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis, North Atlantic variability is causally linked to precipitation over North India – latitudinal variation in the jet over the North Atlantic is linked to waviness downstream, whereas variation in its tilt over the North Atlantic is linked to its strength and shear downstream. These results are used to construct a simple linear model that can skilfully predict winter precipitation over north India at a lead time of one month.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:106557
Publisher:Springer

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