Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1991


Published in Great Plains Research 1:1 (February 1991), pp. 58–76. Copyright © 1991 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The relationship between monthly midtropospheric circulation variations, occurring in the North American sector, and surface temperature and precipitation across the Great Plains is evaluated for the middle month of each season (January, April, July, and October). The results demonstrate that monthly Great Plains temperature variability is strongly associated with the major pattems of midtropospheric circulation variation during all months considered. Temporally, the strongest associations are observed during October. However, January, July, and April also exhibit spatially coherent regions of strong association. Spatially, the relationship tends to be strongest in the northern Plains, with decreasing association to the south. Precipitation-midtroposphere relationships are weaker than those for temperature during all months. The association between the midtroposphere and precipitation is relatively strong from late fall through late spring. However, the convective nature of precipitation in the region during the summer months limits any strong relationships in July. In a spatial sense, no preferred regions of precipitation explanation were indicated in the analysis.