Moisture Sources of Precipitation in the Great Lakes Region: Climatology and Recent Changes

Zhao Yang, Yun Qian, Pengfei Xue, Jiali Wang, T. C. Chakraborty, William J. Pringle, Jianfeng Li, Xiaodong Chen

Department of Energy, Office of Science, Earth & Environmental Systems Modeling Program Acknowledged Support: Yes, Multisector Dynamics, Earth System Model Development, and Regional and Global Model Analysis


Given the critical role of precipitation on hydroclimate, we quantified the contributions of moisture source regions to precipitation in the Great Lakes Region (GLR) using multiple reanalysis data sets. Results show that the Great Plains (GPs) and the GLR itself are the primary sources of moisture. The moisture sources for the double peaks in the GLR precipitation that occur in June and September are identified, which is caused by a shift in the peak timing of moisture contribution from the GLR and GPs. In particular, moisture from the GPs contributes more to the heavy precipitation, while moisture from the GLR contributes more to the light precipitation. We also found a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increasing trend in the moisture contribution from the mid-Pacific, caused by an intensified zonal moisture transport from the mid-Pacific through changes in atmospheric circulation.

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