Heat waves in the United States tend to be preceded by 15 to 20 days by a specific pattern of atmospheric circulation, concludes an article published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The finding could help to improve the predictability of heat waves.
Using an atmospheric general circulation model, Hayan Teng and colleagues identified an atmospheric pattern of five high-pressure systems that span the Northern Hemisphere as a precursor of US heat waves in a 12,000-year simulation. They note that this atmospheric pattern can be generated solely by the natural variability within the climate system, and is not necessarily linked to Asian monsoon rainfall or to patterns in sea surface temperatures.
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