Climatology of water vapor fluxes within the northeastern US

Authors: Natalie Teale*, Rutgers University, David A Robinson, Department of Geography, Rutgers University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: moisture fluxes, precipitation regime, Northeast US, self organizing maps
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Grand Couteau, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research presents a climatology of water vapor fluxes within the northeastern US and the precipitation they produce. This climatology was developed as a starting point for investigating the mechanisms and associated factors driving the well-documented increases in heavy precipitation in the northeastern US in the past several decades. This climatology was developed using a self-organizing map methodology with ERA-Interim daily vertically integrated water vapor fluxes from 1986-2016. The spatial domain includes the eastern US (30°–50° North and 60°–90° West) to include moisture source regions. Typical moisture flux pathways are identified using a self-organizing map (SOM) methodology. Seasonal, annual, and other periodicities of the moisture flux frequencies are analyzed. Precipitation observations are coupled with the water vapor flux patterns to determine the impacts of each moisture flux on the precipitation regime within the northeastern US. This climatology provides a baseline from which the relationship between regional moisture fluxes, precipitation events, and large-scale circulation patterns may be reflected, as well as from which trend detection may be pursued. This research also investigates which moisture flux patterns are changing to produce the observed increased heavy precipitation events in the northeastern US.

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