Role of the strengthened El Niño teleconnection in the May 2015 floods over the southern Great Plains

S.-Y. Simon Wang, Wan-Ru Huang, Huang-Hsiung Hsu, Robert R. Gillies

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46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The climate anomalies leading to the May 2015 floods in Texas and Oklahoma were analyzed in the context of El Niño teleconnection in a warmer climate. A developing El Niño tends to increase late-spring precipitation in the southern Great Plains, and this effect has intensified since 1980. Anthropogenic global warming contributed to the physical processes that caused the persistent precipitation in May 2015: Warming in the tropical Pacific acted to strengthen the teleconnection toward North America, modification of zonal wave 5 circulation that deepened the stationary trough west of Texas, and enhanced Great Plains low-level southerlies increasing moisture supply from the Gulf of Mexico. Attribution analysis using the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 single-forcing experiments and the Community Earth System Model Large Ensemble Project indicated a significant increase in the El Niño-induced precipitation anomalies over Texas and Oklahoma when increases in the anthropogenic greenhouse gases were taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8140-8146
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume42
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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