An intensified seasonal transition in the Central U.S. that enhances summer drought

S. Y.Simon Wang, Joseph Santanello, Hailan Wang, Daniel Barandiaran, Rachel T. Pinker, Siegfried Schubert, Robert R. Gillies, Robert Oglesby, Kyle Hilburn, Ayse Kilic, Paul Houser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In the long term, precipitation in the Central U.S. decreases by 25% during the seasonal transition from June to July. This precipitation decrease has intensified since 1979 and such intensification could have enhanced spring drought occurrences in the Central U.S., in which conditions quickly evolve from being abnormally dry to exceptionally dry. Various atmospheric and land reanalysis data sets were analyzed to examine the trend in the June-July seasonal transition. The intensified deficit in precipitation is accompanied by increased downward shortwave radiation flux, tropospheric subsidence, enhanced evaporative fraction, and elevated planetary boundary layer height, all of which can lead to surface drying. The change in tropospheric circulation was characterized by an anomalous ridge over the western U.S. and a trough on either side-a pattern known to suppress rainfall in the Central U.S. This trending pattern shows similarity with the progression of the 2012 record drought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8804-8816
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2015


  • Intensified spring-summer transition aggravated drought
  • Land-atmosphere feedback increased the 2012 drought
  • Summer drying in Central U.S. has been enhanced

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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