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Six temperature and precipitation regimes of the contiguous United States between 1895 and 2010: a statistical inference study

TitleSix temperature and precipitation regimes of the contiguous United States between 1895 and 2010: a statistical inference study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsShen S.SP, Wied O., Weithmann A., Regele T., Bailey B.A, Lawrimore J.H
JournalTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Date Published2016/07
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0177-798X
Accession NumberWOS:000378884600016
Keywordsdrought; historical climatology network; pacific; patterns; time-series; trends; uncertainties; variability

This paper describes six different temporal climate regimes of the contiguous United States (CONUS) according to interdecadal variations of surface air temperature (SAT) and precipitation using the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) monthly data (Tmax, Tmin, Tmean, and precipitation) from 1895 to 2010. Our analysis is based on the probability distribution, mean, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis, Kolmogorov-Smirnov (KS) test, and Welch's t test. The relevant statistical parameters are computed from gridded monthly SAT and precipitation data. SAT variations lead to classification of four regimes: 1895-1930 (cool), 1931-1960 (warm), 1961-1985 (cool), and 1986-2010 (warm), while precipitation variations lead to a classification of two regimes: 1895-1975 (dry) and 1976-2010 (wet). The KS test shows that any two regimes of the above six are statistically significantly different from each other due to clear shifts of the probability density functions. Extremes of SAT and precipitation identify the ten hottest, coldest, driest, and wettest years. Welch's t test is used to discern significant differences among these extremes. The spatial patterns of the six climate regimes and some years of extreme climate are analyzed. Although the recent two decades are the warmest among the other decades since 1895 and many hottest years measured by CONUS Tmin and Tmean are in these two decades, the hottest year according to the CONUS Tmax anomalies is 1934 (1.37 A degrees C), which is very close to the second Tmax hottest year 2006 (1.35 A degrees C).

Short TitleTheor. Appl. Climatol.
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