Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-403
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-403

  13 Sep 2016

13 Sep 2016

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

Tropical Moisture Exports, Extreme Precipitation and Floods in Northeast US

Mengqian Lu1,2 and Upmanu Lall2,3 Mengqian Lu and Upmanu Lall
  • 1Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • 2Columbia Water Center, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 3Department of Earth & Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Abstract. A statistically and physically based framework is put forward that investigates the relationship between Tropical Moisture Exports (TME), and extreme Precipitation and floods in the Northeast United States (N.E. USA). TME correspond to the meridional transport of moist air masses, primarily born in tropical oceanic areas, to higher latitudes; contribute to the global climatology precipitation and its extremes; and are closely related to flood events, especially in the mid-latitudes. The birth process and the steering of TME have seasonal and interannual variability. In this study, we explore how the TME are related to extreme precipitation and floods in the N.E. USA with a focus on seasonal variability and the potential impact of the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Links of TME to large floods events in N.E. USA in different seasons are first identified. The major moisture sources of the TME that contribute to precipitation extremes and floods in N.E. USA are then identified, together with the seasonally and interannually varying characteristics in terms of both TME birth and entrance to the N.E. USA, and their subsequent contribution to extreme precipitation. We show that the extreme daily precipitation events are dominated by extreme TME entering the N.E. USA events in every season.

Mengqian Lu and Upmanu Lall

 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Mengqian Lu and Upmanu Lall

Mengqian Lu and Upmanu Lall

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Short summary
This paper studies the nexus of air moisture, heavy rain and floods in the Northeast USA, with key research questions of how the moisture from the tropics move to the region, how they are related to heavy rain and floods in the area for different seasons, and what are the roles of atmosphere and climate. The study demonstrates the utility of statistics to understand physical system. It provides a statistically and physically based framework that similar studies can be conducted for other areas.