The Annual March of Precipitation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Northwestern Mexico
AuthorBryson, Reid A.
AffiliationInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, The University of Arizona
KeywordsPrecipitation (Meteorology) -- Arizona.
Precipitation (Meteorology) -- New Mexico.
Precipitation (Meteorology) – Mexico.
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AbstractThis report is concerned with the annual march of monthly precipitation amount in an area comprising the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, Sinaloa, Durango, and western Chihuahua. Fourier analysis was used to reduce the twentyyear mean monthly values to six harmonic terms, four of which were then plotted on charts and studied. The results of this study indicate that an area consisting largely of the Sierra Madre Occidental in northwestern Mexico, and the portion of Arizona southeast of Tucson constitute a single rainfall province with a strong summer maximum of rainfall. This province also has a winter maximum but only in Arizona does the semi-annual term exceed the annual in amplitude. Within the United States the Gila and Rio Grande valleys constitute rainfall provinces of internally similar annual march, while the upland areas tend to resemble the Pacific coastal pattern to the west.
Series/Report no.University of Arizona, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Technical Reports on the Meteorology and Climatology of Arid Regions, No. 6
SponsorsThe work reported herein is part of a study supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
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Seasonal Cycles of Precipitation and Precipitable Water and Their Use in Monsoon Onset and RetreatZeng, Xubin; Lu, Er; Zeng, Xubin; Mullen, Steven L.; Comrie, Andrew; Shuttleworth, W. James; Herman, Benjamin M. (The University of Arizona., 2005)Precipitation (P) and precipitable water (W) are important components of the hydrological cycles in the earth system, and their seasonal cycles are closely related to monsoon circulations over monsoon regions. Through theoretical analyses and extensive analysis of data from in-situ measurements, satellite remote sensing, and regional reanalysis, significant progress has been made (via four peer-reviewed publications) in four areas related to P, W, and monsoon onset and retreat. First, based on the normalized W index, a novel unified method is proposed to determine global monsoon onset and retreat dates. The results are consistent with those obtained from different local criteria. Second, theoretical and data analyses demonstrate that, because of the large annual range of temperature, W can increase from winter to summer anywhere except in the tropics, including both monsoon and nonmonsoon regions. Third, while the seasonal variation of P is, in general, caused by complex processes (e.g., atmospheric circulations), thermodynamic derivations and data analysis demonstrate that the variation of P from winter to summer can be easily understood from the comparative strength between the change of water vapor and the change of temperature. In monsoon regions, the change of water vapor from winter to summer is much greater than the change of temperature, so P has an in-phase relation with W. While in some of the nonmonsoon regions, where winter is the rainy season, the change of temperature is much greater than the change of water vapor, leading to an out-of-phase relation between P and W, and, relative to summer, the coldness of the winter air is much more significant than its dryness. Finally, the satisfactory performance of the globally unified monsoon index can be understood by comparing the seasonal cycles of P and W. The significant positive correlations between P and W at seasonal and synoptic scales imply that W has the ability to indicate both the means and the interannual variations of the monsoon onset and retreat. Since large increase of W from winter to summer can occur in both monsoon and nonmonsoon regions, the global monsoon regions cannot be obtained from the seasonal change of W.
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