Impact of the southern oscillation on the north american southwest monsoon

J. A. Harrington, Randall Cerveny, Robert Balling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The intensity and spatial variations in the North American Southwest Monsoon are examined to determine the influence of the Southern Oscillation. Sixty-five years (1920–1984) of July and August monthly precipitation data from Arizona and New Mexico are normalized using a square root transformation, converted into z-scores, and stratified according to onset and following years for Warm Events and Cold Events of the Southern Oscillation. The results for July reveal different spatial patterns in the monsoonal precipitation for the extremes of the Southern Oscillation. Warm-Event onset years are associated with positive precipitation anomalies that decline along a northeast-to-southwest gradient across the study area whereas the Cold-Event onset years produce highest positive values in west-central Arizona and negative values throughout the eastern two-thirds of the study area. Spatial patterns for the August precipitation data do not appear to be influenced by the extremes of the Southern Oscillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-330
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992


  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Southern Oscillation
  • Southwest Monsoon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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