Publication Abstracts

Cook et al. 2011

Cook, B.I., R. Seager, and R.L. Miller, 2011: On the causes and dynamics of the early twentieth century North American pluvial. J. Climate, 24, 5043-5060, doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4201.1.

The early twentieth century North American pluvial (1905-1917) was one of the most extreme wet periods of the last five hundred years and directly led to overly generous water allotments in the water-limited American West. Here we examine the causes and dynamics of the pluvial event using a combination of observation-based data sets and general circulation model (GCM) experiments. The character of the moisture surpluses during the pluvial differed by region, alternately driven by increased precipitation (the Southwest), low evaporation from cool temperatures (the Central Plains), or a combination of the two (the Pacific Northwest). Cool temperature anomalies covered much of the west and persisted through most months, part of a globally extensive period of cooler land and sea surface temperatures (SST). Circulation during boreal winter favored increased moisture import and precipitation in the southwest, while other regions and seasons were characterized by near normal or reduced precipitation. Anomalies in the mean circulation, precipitation, and SST fields are partially consistent with the relatively weak El Niño forcing during the pluvial, and also reflect the impact of positive departures in the Arctic Oscillation that occurred in ten of the thirteen pluvial winters. Differences between the reanalysis dataset, an independent statistical drought model, and GCM simulations highlight some of the remaining uncertainties in understanding the full extent of SST forcing of North American hydroclimatic variability.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Cook, B. I. and Seager, R. and Miller, R. L.},
  title={On the causes and dynamics of the early twentieth century North American pluvial},
  journal={Journal of Climate},

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RIS Citation

ID  - co00600k
AU  - Cook, B. I.
AU  - Seager, R.
AU  - Miller, R. L.
PY  - 2011
TI  - On the causes and dynamics of the early twentieth century North American pluvial
JA  - J. Climate
JO  - Journal of Climate
VL  - 24
SP  - 5043
EP  - 5060
DO  - 10.1175/2011JCLI4201.1
ER  -

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