Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



1991 American Meteorological Society


The Pacific/ North American (PNA) teleconnection index, a measure of the strength and phase of the PNA teleconnection pattern, is related to the variations of the surface climate of the United States from 1947 through 1982 for the autumn, winter, and spring months when the PNA is a main mode of Northern Hemisphere mid-tropospheric variability. The results demonstrate that the PNA index is highly correlated with both regional temperature and precipitation. The strongest, most extensive correlations between the index and temperature are observed in winter, but large areas of the country show important associations during the spring and autumn as well. Although the centers of highest correlation migrate systematically with changes in the circumpolar vortex over the course of the annual cycle, the southeastern and northwestern parts of the United States possess consistently high index- temperature correlations.

Correlations between the PNA index and precipitation are weaker and less extensive than those for temperature, but large coherent regions of high correlations are observed across the nation. Winter and early spring exhibit the strongest relationships because spatially coherent synoptic-scale systems, related to the long-wave pattern, control precipitation. The late spring and early autumn seasons have the least extensive and weakest correlations due to the importance of less organized smaller-scale convective rainfall events.