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Title: Relative contributions of mean-state shifts and ENSO-driven variability to precipitation changes in a warming climate

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is an important driver of regional hydroclimate variability through far-reaching teleconnections. This study uses simulations performed with coupled general circulation models (CGCMs) to investigate how regional precipitation in the twenty-first century may be affected by changes in both ENSO-driven precipitation variability and slowly evolving mean rainfall. First, a dominant, time-invariant pattern of canonical ENSO variability (cENSO) is identified in observed SST data. Next, the fidelity with which 33 state-of-the-art CGCMs represent the spatial structure and temporal variability of this pattern (as well as its associated precipitation responses) is evaluated in simulations of twentieth-century climate change. Possible changes in both the temporal variability of this pattern and its associated precipitation teleconnections are investigated in twenty-first-century climate projections. Models with better representation of the observed structure of the cENSO pattern produce winter rainfall teleconnection patterns that are in better accord with twentieth-century observations and more stationary during the twenty-first century. Finally, the model-predicted twenty-first-century rainfall response to cENSO is decomposed into the sum of three terms: 1) the twenty-first-century change in the mean state of precipitation, 2) the historical precipitation response to the cENSO pattern, and 3) a future enhancement in the rainfall response to cENSO, whichmore » amplifies rainfall extremes. Lastly, by examining the three terms jointly, this conceptual framework allows the identification of regions likely to experience future rainfall anomalies that are without precedent in the current climate.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 28; Journal Issue: 24; Journal ID: ISSN 0894-8755
American Meteorological Society
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; circulation/dynamics; ENSO; Atm/ocean structure/phenomena; precipitation; physical meteorology and climatology; climate change; regional effects; models and modeling; general circulation models; variability; climate variability
OSTI Identifier: