Decadal Variability of Southeast US Rainfall in an Eddying Global Coupled Model

Wei Zhang, Ben Kirtman, Leo Siqueira, Baoqiang Xiang, Johnna Infanti, Natalie Perlin

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Ocean variability is a dominant source of remote rainfall predictability, but in many cases the physical mechanisms driving this predictability are not fully understood. This study examines how ocean mesoscales (i.e., the Gulf Stream SST front) affect decadal Southeast US (SEUS) rainfall, arguing that the local imprint of large-scale teleconnections is sensitive to resolved mesoscale features. Based on global coupled model experiments with eddying and eddy-parameterizing ocean, we find that a resolved Gulf Stream improves localized rainfall and remote circulation response in the SEUS. The eddying model generally improves the air-sea interactions in the Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Subtropical High that modulate SEUS rainfall over decadal timescales. The eddy-parameterizing simulation fails to capture the sharp SST gradient associated with the Gulf Stream and overestimates the role of tropical Pacific SST anomalies in the SEUS rainfall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL096709
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2022


  • Air-Sea Interactions
  • Decadal Variability
  • Eddying CCSM4
  • Gulf Stream
  • North Atlantic Subtropical High
  • Southeast US Rainfall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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