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Lagged influence of Atlantic and Pacific climate patterns on European extreme precipitation

Hossein Tabari, Patrick Willems
Scientific Reports 2018 April 10, 8 (1): 5748
The risk of European extreme precipitation and flooding as an economic and humanitarian disaster is modulated by large-scale atmospheric processes that operate over (multi-)decadal periods and transport huge quantities of moisture inland from the oceans. Yet the previous studies for better understanding of extreme precipitation variability and its skillful seasonal prediction are far from comprehensive. Here we show that the winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and, to a lesser extent, winter ENSO signal have a controlling influence not only concurrently on European extreme precipitation anomaly in winter, but in a delayed way on the extremes in the following seasons. In a similar pattern, there is a strong footprint of summer atmospheric circulations over the Mediterranean Sea on summer extreme precipitation and with 1-, 2- and 3-season lags on the following autumn, winter and spring extremes. The combined influences of the different atmospheric circulation patterns mark a significant step forward for an improved predictability of European extreme precipitation in the state-of-the-art seasonal prediction systems.


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