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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Variations of Twentieth-Century Temperature and Precipitation Extreme Indicators in the Northeast United States

Authors:

Michael Griffiths

Raymond Bradley

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2007
Secondary Title:
Journal of Climate
Pages:
5401-5417
Volume:
20
Year:
2007
Date:
11/2007

Abstract

An examination of five temperature and five precipitation extreme indicators reveals an increase in both temperature and precipitation extremes over the 1926–2000 period in the northeast United States, with most of this increase occurring over the past four decades. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of winter frost days (FD) and warm nights (TN90) and also winter consecutive dry days (CDD) and very wet days (R95T) over the 1950–2000 period reveals that some of the variability associated with changes in these extremes may be explained by variations in the Arctic Oscillation (AO), El Ni\~no–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and Pacific–North American (PNA) pattern. The most prominent feature of these results was the high correlation between the leading EOF of frost days and warm nights and the AO. Winter composites of temperature and precipitation extreme indicators were examined for different phases of the AO and ENSO during the 1926–2000 period. Overall, the AO is a better predictor of winter warm nights, while the ENSO is a better predictor of consecutive dry days in the northeast United States.