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Meteorological Drivers of North American Monsoon Extreme Precipitation Events
  • Shiheng Duan,
  • Paul Ullrich,
  • William R. Boos
Shiheng Duan
University of California, Davis

Corresponding Author:shiduan@ucdavis.edu

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Paul Ullrich
University of California Davis
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William R. Boos
University of California, Berkeley
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In this paper the meteorological drivers of North American Monsoon (NAM) extreme precipitation events (EPEs) are identified and analyzed. First, the NAM area and its subregions are distinguished using self-organizing maps (SOM) applied to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) global precipitation dataset. This delineation emphasizes the distinct extreme precipitation character and drivers in each subregion, and we subsequently argue these subregions are more suitable for regional analysis given the inhomogeneous geographical features in the NAM area. For each EPE, defined as daily precipitation exceeding the 95th precipitation percentile, five synoptic features and one mesoscale feature are investigated and assigned as potential drivers. Essentially all EPEs can be associated with at least one selected driver, with only one event remaining as unclassified. The attribution result demonstrates the dominant role of Gulf of California moisture surges, followed by mesoscale convective systems. Finally, a frequency and probability analysis is conducted to contrast precipitation distributions conditioned on the associated meteorological drivers. Interactions and influences among candidate features are revealed by the precipitation probability density functions.