Subhourly mesoscale analysis of the 2011-2017 North American monsoon near its northwest boundary

International Journal of Climatology
By: , and 

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Abstract

The North American Monsoon (NAM) delivers precipitation to the southwestern USA during the warm-dry summer season. The seasonal extent of NAM precipitation is highly variable and is likely to change under future climate change. Our objective was to determine how large scale monsoonal patterns as well as local variables influence precipitation events near the NAM northwest boundary. Intra- and inter-annual changes in the northwest sector of the NAM were represented by subhourly weather data collected on the Sheep Range (2300 m asl), in the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada, during 2011-2017. Our study site is part of the Nevada Climate-ecohydrological Assessment Network (NevCAN), an automated observing system established in early 2011. Three seasons were classified using the subhourly weather data including: 1) cool season, 2) early warm season, 3) and late warm season, where the transition between early and late warm season was marked by the day when in situ dewpoint temperature first exceeded 9.4 ºC. Based on analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), dewpoint temperature had the greatest relationship with total hourly precipitation, followed by vapor pressure deficit, solar radiation, and air temperature. The only significant interaction term was between hour of the day and dewpoint temperature, highlighting the importance of dewpoint temperature for afternoon thunderstorms, which are typical of monsoonal precipitation. Besides in situ meteorological variables, we also analyzed NCEP/NCAR vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT) and long-term 800-m PRISM precipitation time series. Regional composites were developed for IVT for the three seasons. Water vapor in the cool and early warm season originated mostly from the Pacific Ocean, while a transition in IVT to a NAM pattern occurred in the late warm season. Overall, this highly instrumented yet remote site was representative of NAM precipitation, despite noticeable variability in its timing and amount.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Subhourly mesoscale analysis of the 2011-2017 North American monsoon near its northwest boundary
Series title International Journal of Climatology
DOI 10.3390/atmos10070420
Volume 10
Issue 7
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Royal Meteorological Society
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description 420
Country United States
State Nevada
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