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Climate Diagnostics Bulletin
Climate Diagnostics Bulletin - Home Climate Diagnostics Bulletin - Tropics Climate Diagnostics Bulletin - Forecast

 

  Extratropical Highlights

  Table of Indices  (Table 3)

  Global Surface Temperature  E1

  Temperature Anomalies (Land Only)  E2

  Global Precipitation  E3

  Regional Precip Estimates (a)  E4

  Regional Precip Estimates (b)  E5

  U.S. Precipitation  E6

  Northern Hemisphere

  Southern Hemisphere

  Stratosphere

  Appendix 2: Additional Figures

Extratropical Highlights

MARCH 2014

1

Extratropical Highlights March 2014

 

1. Northern Hemisphere

The 500-hPa circulation during March featured above-average heights over the central North Atlantic, Europe, and eastern Asia, and below-average heights over eastern Canada, the high latitudes of the North Atlantic, and northwestern Russia (Fig. E9). Over the North Atlantic, the 500-hPa height anomalies projected onto the positive phase of the East Atlantic (EA, +0.92) teleconnection pattern (Table E1, Fig. E7). A strong positive EA pattern has been present for the last four months.

The main land-surface temperature signals during March included above-average temperatures in the southwestern U.S., Mexico, and throughout nearly all of Eurasia, and below-average temperatures across Canada and the eastern half of the U.S. (Fig. E1). The main precipitation signals included above-average totals in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast regions of the U.S., and below-average totals in the central U.S. and in most of Europe (Fig. E3).

 

a. North Pacific/ North America

The mean 500-hPa circulation during March featured an amplified Hudson Bay trough (Fig. E9). This pattern was associated with anomalous northerly and northwesterly flow across Canada and the northeastern quadrant of the U.S. (Fig. E10), resulting in below-average temperatures across both regions (Fig. E1).

Precipitation during March was well above-average in the Pacific Northwest U.S., with many locations recording totals in the upper 90th percentile of occurrences (Fig. E3). This marks the second straight month for well above-average totals in that region (Fig. E5). Precipitation was also above average in both the northeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. during March, with both areas recording above-average totals in each of the last three months (Fig. E5).

In contrast, the central U.S. received well below-average precipitation during March, with portions of the Great Plains recording totals in the lowest 10th percentile of occurrences. The Great Plains region has recorded below-average precipitation for the past five months (Fig. E5), leading to an expansion and worsening of drought conditions. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu), severe or extreme drought was present from central Texas to northern Nebraska by the end of March, with portions of the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma experiencing exceptional drought. Much of California and northwestern Nevada also reported either extreme or exceptional ongoing drought throughout the month. Southern Oregon, southern Idaho, and much of New Mexico reported ongoing severe drought.

 

b. North Atlantic/ Eurasia

The mean 500-hPa circulation during March featured above-average heights across the central North Atlantic, Europe, and eastern Asia, and below-average heights over northwestern Russia (Fig. E9). This pattern projected onto the positive phase of the East Atlantic (+0.92) teleconnection pattern (Table E1, Fig. E7). March marks the fourth consecutive with a strong positive EA pattern.

The circulation during March also featured a strong split-flow pattern over the eastern North Atlantic, with an enhanced southwesterly flow of mild marine air throughout Europe and northern Russia. These conditions contributed to above-average temperatures across Eurasia, with much of the continent recording departures in the upper 70th and upper 90th percentile of occurrences (Fig. E1). The strong ridge over Europe also contributed to well below-average precipitation across central and Northern Europe, with many areas recording totals in the lowest 10th percentile of occurrences (Fig. E3). The Northern Europe sector has recorded large precipitation deficits in seven of the last nine months (Fig. E4).

 

2. Southern Hemisphere

The mean 500-hPa circulation during March featured above-average heights across the high latitudes of the South Pacific, and both the central South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and below-average heights south of Africa (Fig. E15).

In Australia, precipitation was below average across much of the continent, with the largest deficits recorded in the northeast (Fig. E3). March is the second straight month with large precipitation deficits in that region.

The South African rainy season lasts from October to March. Precipitation across the region was varied during March, with some interior locations recording totals in the upper 90th percentile of occurrences, and both Madagascar and southeastern Africa recording totals in the lowest 30th percentile of occurrences (Fig. E3). To date, area-averaged totals for the 2013-14 rainy season were above-average during October, December, January and March, below-average in November, and near-average in April.


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Page Last Modified: April 2014
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