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HOME > Monitoring and Data > Oceanic & Atmospheric Data > Northern Hemisphere Teleconnection Patterns > Tropical Northern Hemisphere (TNH)
Map (Positive Phase)

Associated Temperature and Precipitation Patterns

Plotted Historical Time Series

Historical Index: Monthly tabulated Tropical/ Northern Hemisphere teleconnection index dating back to 1950. Indices are standardized by the 1981-2010 climatology.

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The Tropical/ Northern Hemisphere (TNH) pattern was first classified by Mo and Livezey (1986), and appears as a prominent wintertime mode during December-February. The positive phase of the TNH pattern features above-average heights over the Gulf of Alaska and from the Gulf of Mexico northeastward across the western North Atlantic, and below-average heights throughout eastern Canada.

The TNH pattern reflects large-scale changes in both the location and eastward extent of the Pacific jet stream, and also in the strength and position of the climatological mean Hudson Bay Low. Thus, the pattern significantly modulates the flow of marine air into North America, as well as the southward transport of cold Canadian air into the north-central United States.

The positive phase of the TNH pattern is associated with below-average surface temperatures throughout the western and central United States, and across central and eastern Canada. It is also associated with above-average precipitation across the central and eastern subtropical North Pacific, and below-average precipitation in the western United States and across Cuba, the Bahama Islands, and much of the central North Atlantic Ocean.

The negative phase of the TNH pattern is often observed during December and January when Pacific warm (ENSO) episode conditions are present (Barnston et al. 1991). One recent example of this is the 1994/95 winter season, when mature Pacific warm episode conditions and a strong negative phase of the TNH pattern were present. During this period, the mean Hudson Bay trough was much weaker than normal and shifted northeastward toward the Labrador Sea. Additionally, the Pacific jet stream was much stronger than normal and shifted southward to central California, well south of its climatological mean position in the Pacific Northwest. This flow pattern brought well above-normal temperatures to eastern North America and above-normal rainfall to the southwestern United States.

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Page last modified: January 10, 2012
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