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Title: Mechanisms for Springtime Onset of Isolated Precipitation across the Southeastern United States
This study uses four-year radar-based precipitation organization and reanalysis datasets to study the mechanisms that lead to the abrupt springtime onset of precipitation associated with isolated storms in the Southeast United States (SE US). Although the SE US receives relatively constant precipitation year-round, previous work demonstrated a “hidden” summertime maximum in isolated precipitation features (IPF) whose annual cycle resembles that of monsoon climates in the subtropics. In the SE US, IPF rain abruptly ramps up in May and lasts until sometime between late August and early October. This study suggests that the onset of the IPF season in the SE US is brought about by a combination of slow thermodynamic processes and fast dynamic triggers, as follows. First, in the weeks prior to IPF onset, a gradual seasonal build-up of convective available potential energy (CAPE) occurs in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, in one-to-two pentads prior to onset, the upper-tropospheric jet stream shifts northward, favoring the presence of slow-moving frontal systems in the SE US. This poleward shift in the jet stream location in turn allows the establishment of the North Atlantic subtropical high western ridge over the SE US which, with associated poleward transport of high CAPE air from more » the Gulf of Mexico, leads to the establishment of the warm-season regime of IPF precipitation in the SE US. « less
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

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