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Pacific and Atlantic Ocean influences on multidecadal drought frequency in the United States

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

By:
, ,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0306738101

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Abstract

More than half (52%) of the spatial and temporal variance in multidecadal drought frequency over the conterminous United States is attributable to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). An additional 22% of the variance in drought frequency is related to a complex spatial pattern of positive and negative trends in drought occurrence possibly related to increasing Northern Hemisphere temperatures or some other unidirectional climate trend. Recent droughts with broad impacts over the conterminous U.S. (1996, 1999-2002) were associated with North Atlantic warming (positive AMO) and north-eastern and tropical Pacific cooling (negative PDO). Much of the long-term predictability of drought frequency may reside in the multidecadal behavior of the North Atlantic Ocean. Should the current positive AMO (warm North Atlantic) conditions persist into the upcoming decade, we suggest two possible drought scenarios that resemble the continental-scale patterns of the 1930s (positive PDO) and 1950s (negative PDO) drought.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Pacific and Atlantic Ocean influences on multidecadal drought frequency in the United States
Series title:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0306738101
Volume
101
Issue:
12
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
4136
Last page:
4141
Number of Pages:
6