Collaborative Research: Variations and Trends in Fall Precipitation over the Central United States: Issues of Physical Mechanisms, Circulation Anomalies and Boundary Forcing

Lead PI: Mingfang Ting

Unit Affiliation: Ocean and Climate Physics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

June 2008 - May 2013
Atlantic Ocean ; Pacific Ocean ; United States
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: The project will focus on three themes to better understand precipitation patterns in the United States during fall: 1) mechanisms that produce trends and decadal variations in fall precipitation and how they are represented in models; 2) how are these mechanisms dominant in fall and not other seasons; and 3) how to identify physical linkages between decadal variations in fall and Pacific or Atlantic sea surface temperature. This will be done my examining observational data and looking for physical mechanisms responsible.

OUTCOMES: Found that the observed trend in fall precipitation is consistent with quasi-decadal (12 year) variations in the strength/location of the jet stream, changes in north Pacific storm tracks, and changes in meridional moisture flux into the US from the Gulf of Mexico. Models used have so far show weak fall precipitation signals.


National Science Foundation (NSF)




Tufts University



Richard Seager, Mingfang Ting, Mike Davis, Mark Cane, Naomi Naik, Jennifer Nakamura, Cuihua Li, Ed Cook and David W. Stahle. "Mexican drought: An observational,modeling and proxy reconstruction study of variability and climate change," Atmosfera, 2009.

Small, D., Islam, S. and M. Ting. "The Impact of Large Scale Circulation Anomalies on the Moisture Flux over the United States in Observations and Models," Eos Trans. AGU, v.90(52), 2009.

Li., W., Li, L., Ting, M., Liu, Y.. "Intensification of Northern Hemisphere subtropical highs in a warming climate," Nature Geosciences, 2012. doi:10.1038/NGEO1590

Ting, M., Kushnir, Y., Li, C., Seager, R.. "Robust Features of the Atlantic Multi Decadal Variability and its Climate Impacts," Geophysical Research Letter, 2011. doi:10.1029/2011GL048712

Seager, R., Ting, M., Li, C., Naik, N., Cook, B., Nakamura, J., Liu, H.. "Projections of declining surface-water availability for southwestern United States," Nature Climate Change, 2012. doi:10.1038/nclimate1787


climate precipitation decadal variability sea surface temperature predictability models ocean and climate physics drought


Modeling and Adapting to Future Climate