A Caltech Library Service

Predicting the Interannual Variability of California's Total Annual Precipitation

Cheng, Rui and Novak, Lenka and Schneider, Tapio (2021) Predicting the Interannual Variability of California's Total Annual Precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters, 48 (7). Art. No. e2020GL091465. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2020GL091465.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Understanding and predicting precipitation characteristics on seasonal and longer timescales can help California prepare for long‐term droughts and precipitation extremes. We find that interannual variations in total precipitation across California are primarily determined by precipitation frequency. As was shown previously for total precipitation, the precipitation frequency is linked to the North Pacific jet stream location. This indicates that California precipitation frequency is primarily controlled by where the jet guides precipitate weather systems rather than how moist or energetic the systems are. The jet's position, in turn, depends on the states of the El Niño‐Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). We use this to construct a regression model that predicts variations in California's annual total precipitation and precipitation frequency. Up to 20% of the wintertime precipitation variance in Southern California is predictable using decorrelated ENSO and PDO indices in the previous summer.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemData
Cheng, Rui0000-0002-3003-8339
Schneider, Tapio0000-0001-5687-2287
Additional Information:© 2021 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 09 April 2021; Version of Record online: 09 April 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 22 March 2021; Manuscript accepted: 16 March 2021; Manuscript revised: 09 March 2021; Manuscript received: 27 October 2020. This study was supported by NSF (Grant no. AGS‐1760402) and by Eric and Wendy Schmidt (by recommendation of the Schmidt Futures program). Data Availability Statement: The data used in this study can be downloaded from
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Schmidt Futures ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:California's precipitation; ENSO; PDO; precipitation frequency
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210503-083240124
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Cheng, R., Novak, L., & Schneider, T. (2021). Predicting the interannual variability of California's total annual precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2020GL091465.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108914
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 May 2021 18:14
Last Modified:16 Oct 2021 08:05

Repository Staff Only: item control page