Exploring the Effect of Teleconnection Signal Propagation on Terrestrial Precipitation and Greenness in North America
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Global sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies have a demonstrable effect on vegetation dynamics and precipitation patterns throughout the United States. SST variations have been correlated with greenness (vegetation densities) and precipitation via ocean-atmospheric interactions known as climate teleconnections.

Prior research has demonstrated that teleconnections can be used for climate prediction across a wide region at sub-continental scales. Yet these studies rely on traditional teleconnection indices suited for broad regional prediction, making teleconnection identification difficult at the local scale. The highly variable and non-stationary nature of teleconnection patterns further complicates these relationships, with simple linear analyses failing to capture the underlying trends. This paper explores the short-term (10-year), nonlinear and non-stationary teleconnection signals between SST at the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the terrestrial responses (i.e., greenness and precipitation) along multiple pristine sites in the northeastern U.S. Each testing site was selected to avoid anthropogenic influences that may otherwise mask climate teleconnection signals. Unique SST indices were extracted from the Northern Atlantic and Pacific basins to optimize the teleconnection relationships to each study site. Lagged pixel-wise linear teleconnection patterns across anomalous datasets found significant correlation regions between SST and the terrestrial sites. Non-stationary signals also exhibit salient co-variations at biennial and triennial frequencies between terrestrial responses and SST anomalies across oceanic regions in agreement with the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) signals. Multiple regression analysis of the combined ocean indices explained up to 48% of the greenness and 42% of the precipitation in the study sites. These identified short-term teleconnection signals with varying frequencies can improve the understanding and projection of the climate change impacts at local scales, and harness the interannual periodicity information for greenness and precipitation projections.

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Lee Mullon
  • All Authors: Lee Mullon (Geosyntec), Y. Jeffrey Yang (USEPA), Ni-Bin Chang (UCF), Sanaz Imen (UCF)
  • Title: Exploring the Effect of Teleconnection Signal Propagation on Terrestrial Precipitation and Greenness in North America
  • Event or Publication: 6th International Conference on Water Resources and Environmental Research
  • Practice Areas: Environmental Management Assessment and Systems
  • Date: 2013
  • Location: Koblenz, Germany