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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d89jul31

"The 1988 US Drought Linked to Anomalous Sea Surface Temperature," T.N. Palmer (European Ctr. Medium Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Park, Reading RG2 9AX, UK), C. Brankovic, Nature, 338(6210), 54-57, Mar. 2, 1989.

Studied 30-day forecasts of the atmospheric flow over the United States using a complex numerical weather-prediction model initialized with data from May 1987 and May 1988. An experiment with 1988 initial conditions and 1987 sea surface temperatures was also made. Results indicate that much of the difference between the 1987 and 1988 forecasts was associated with interannual variability in sea surface temperature, which suggests that the United States drought was linked to anomalous oceanic conditions in the tropical Pacific.

Item #d89jul32

"Origins of the 1988 North American Drought," K.E. Trenberth (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), G.W. Branstator, P.A. Arkin, Science, 242(4885), 1640-1644, Dec. 23, 1988.

Suggests the causes of the drought were different for various regions affected. Oceanic conditions associated with the 1987 El Niño may have been a primary factor in setting up drought conditions on the West Coast and in the northern Great Plains. In the Midwest, results from a steady-state planetary-wave atmospheric model indicate that atmospheric heating anomalies associated with the displaced ITCZ could force the observed wavetrain. Land surface processes probably further contributed to the severity of the drought, but large-scale atmospheric circulation perturbations associated with natural variations in the coupled atmosphere-ocean system in the tropical Pacific were most likely the primary cause.

Item #d89jul33

"The Global Climate for March-May 1988: The End of the 1986-87 Pacific Warm Episode and the Onset of Widespread Drought in the United States," J.E. Janowiak (Climate Analysis Ctr./NMC/NOAA, W/NMC52, WWB, Washington DC 20233), J. Clim., 1(10), 1019-1040, Oct. 1988.

Concludes that the 1986-1987 El Niño/Southern Oscillation warm episode ended by May 1988 as indicated by the following: sea surface temperatures (SST) in the equatorial Pacific rapidly cooled; the Tahiti minus Darwin Oscillation index reached a maximum value of +1.1, and the outgoing longwave radiation index was strongly positive during the March-May season. In contrast to this, areas of above normal SST were observed along the western South American coast and to the north and south of the area of cold equatorial SST anomalies. The relatively large-scale area of -1° C SST anomaly in the North Pacific has persisted. Further evaluates drought indices and monsoon anomalies globally.

Item #d89jul34

"The Global Climate for June-August 1988: A Swing to the Positive Phase of the Southern Oscillation, Drought in the United States, and Abundant Rain in the Monsoon Areas," C.F. Ropelewski (Climate Analysis Ctr., NWS/NOAA, Washington DC 20233), ibid., 1(11), 1153-1174, Nov. 1988.

A dramatic shift in the Southern Oscillation to its positive phase began in March and continued throughout the June to August season. The configuration of the ocean-atmosphere system as reflected in this analysis stands in marked contrast to the negative phase of the Southern Oscillation that dominated the tropics through the Northern Hemisphere winter of 1987-1988. Further reviews indicators of drought in the United States and abundant rain in the Monsoon areas.

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