Long term changes in flooding and heavy rainfall associated with North Atlantic tropical cyclones: Roles of the North Atlantic Oscillation and El Niño-Southern Oscillation

Yog N. Aryal, Gabriele Villarini, Wei Zhang, Gabriel Andres Vecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aim of this study is to examine the contribution of North Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) to flooding and heavy rainfall across the continental United States. Analyses highlight the spatial variability in these hazards, their temporal changes in terms of frequency and magnitude, and their connection to large-scale climate, in particular to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). We use long-term stream and rain gage measurements, and our analyses are based on annual maxima (AMs) and peaks-over-threshold (POTs). TCs contribute to ∼20–30% of AMs and POTs over Florida and coastal areas of the eastern United States, and the contribution decreases as we move inland. We do not detect statistically significant trends in the magnitude or frequency of TC floods. Regarding the role of climate, NAO and ENSO do not play a large role in controlling the frequency and magnitude of TC flooding. The connection between heavy rainfall and TCs is comparable to what observed in terms of flooding. Unlike flooding, NAO plays a significant role in TC-related extreme rainfall along the U.S. East Coast, while ENSO is most strongly linked to the TC precipitation in Texas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-710
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume559
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

Keywords

  • Eastern United States
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation
  • Extreme rainfall
  • Flood
  • North Atlantic Oscillation
  • North Atlantic tropical cyclones

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