Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Influence of Synoptic-Scale Airmass Conditions on Seasonal Precipitation Patterns over North Carolina

Version 1 : Received: 15 August 2019 / Approved: 20 August 2019 / Online: 20 August 2019 (03:01:27 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 8 October 2019 / Approved: 9 October 2019 / Online: 9 October 2019 (04:38:32 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Zarzar, C.; Dyer, J. The Influence of Synoptic-Scale Air Mass Conditions on Seasonal Precipitation Patterns over North Carolina. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 624. Zarzar, C.; Dyer, J. The Influence of Synoptic-Scale Air Mass Conditions on Seasonal Precipitation Patterns over North Carolina. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 624.


This paper characterizes the influence of synoptic-scale airmass conditions on spatial and temporal patterns of precipitation in North Carolina over a 16-year period (2003-2018). National Center for Environmental Prediction Stage IV multi-sensor precipitation estimates were used to describe seasonal variations in precipitation in the context of prevailing airmass conditions classified using the spatial synoptic classification system. Spatial analyses identified significant clustering of high daily average precipitation amounts distributed along the lee side of the Appalachian Mountains and along the coastal plains. Significant and heterogenous clustering was prevalent in summer months and tended to coincide with land cover boundaries and complex terrain. Between the three geographic regions of North Carolina, highest precipitations amounts were received in western North Carolina during the winter and spring, but this signal shifted to eastern North Carolina in the summer and fall. Central North Carolina received the least amount of precipitation; however, there was substantial variability between regions due to prevailing airmass conditions. The summer months were dominated by maritime tropical airmass conditions with no clear shift in summertime airmass trends over the study period. Most days with recorded precipitation in the winter, spring, and fall occurred under dry moderate airmass conditions; however, the highest daily average precipitation and total precipitation occurred under the influence of maritime moderate airmasses. Importantly, there was an observed shift toward warmer and more humid airmass conditions in the winter, spring, and fall months throughout the study period (2003-2018), indicating a shift toward airmass conditions conducive to higher daily average rain rates in North Carolina.


precipitation; seasonal; airmass; spatial patterns


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science and Meteorology

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