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Monthly rainfall signatures of the North Atlantic oscillation and East Atlantic pattern in Great Britain

West, Harry; Quinn, Nevil; Horswell, Michael


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Mr Harry West
Senior Lecturer in Geography & Environmental Management


Atmospheric-oceanic circulations (teleconnections) have an important influence on regional climate. In Great Britain, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) has long been understood as the leading mode of climate variability, and its phase and magnitude have been found to influence regional rainfall in previous research. The East Atlantic Pattern (EA) is also increasingly recognised as being a secondary influence on European climate. In this study we use high resolution gridded rainfall and Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) time series data for Great Britain to map the monthly rainfall signatures of the NAO and EA over the period January 1950–December 2015. Our analyses show that the influence of the two teleconnections varies in space and time with distinctive monthly signatures observed in both average rainfall/SPI-1 values and incidences of wet/dry extremes. In the winter months the NAO has a strong influence on rainfall and extremes in the north-western regions. Meanwhile, in the southern and central regions stronger EA-rainfall relationships are present. In the summer months opposing positive/negative phases of the NAO and EA result in stronger wet/dry signatures which are more spatially consistent. Our findings suggest that both the NAO and EA have a prominent influence on regional rainfall distribution and volume in Great Britain, which in turn has implications for the use of teleconnection forecasts in water management decision making. We conclude that accounting for both NAO and EA influences will lead to an enhanced understanding of both historic and future spatial distribution of monthly precipitation.


West, H., Quinn, N., & Horswell, M. (2021). Monthly rainfall signatures of the North Atlantic oscillation and East Atlantic pattern in Great Britain. Atmosphere, 12(11), Article 1533.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 18, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 20, 2021
Publication Date Nov 20, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2021
Journal Atmosphere
Electronic ISSN 2073-4433
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 11
Article Number 1533
Public URL


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