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Long-distance air pressure differences correlate with European rain

Müller-Plath, Gisela; Lüdecke, Horst-Joachim; Lüning, Sebastian

FG Psychologie Neuer Medien und Methodenlehre

Precipitation in Europe shows natural fluctuations that differ considerably between seasons and geographical regions. A number of studies have linked local or seasonal rainfall variability to various long-distance air pressure differences in north–south or west–east direction. This paper presents the first continent-wide analysis of European rainfall variability on a month-by-month and country-by-country basis. We calculated Pearson r values for unsmoothed monthly rainfall data of 39 European countries over the period 1950–2019 with five potential climatic drivers, namely the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the North Sea Caspian Pattern (NCP), and two indices of Mediterranean Oscillation (MOI2, WeMOI). For a variety of countries and months we found substantial and statistically significant r values of up to r = 0.7 and more. The dynamic temporal-spatial evolution of the Pearson correlations was mapped out across the continent, tracking the gradual or abrupt expansion, displacement and subsequent waning of the various effects over the course of the year. The correlation analysis was complemented by best subset multiple regression, controlling for intercorrelation of the potential drivers. Our results may help to improve short- to midterm rainfall prognoses in Europe and provide important calibration data for the further refinement of climate models.