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Keywords:

  • precipitation;
  • circulation types;
  • Iran;
  • APHRODITE;
  • principal component analysis;
  • performance index

ABSTRACT

The relationship between daily large-scale atmospheric circulation types (CTs) and wintertime daily precipitation over Iran during the period 1965–2000 is investigated. Twelve atmospheric CTs identified in a previous study, which applied the K-means clustering technique to the rotated principal components (RPCs) of the 500 hPa geopotential height fields, are also considered in this study. The leading spatial modes of daily precipitation variability over Iran are extracted by a PC analysis, with Varimax rotation, applied to the APHRODITE (Asian Precipitation-Highly Resolved Observational Data Integration Towards Evaluation of the Water Resources) gridded precipitation dataset; six Iranian sub-regions with independent precipitation variability are identified. The relationships between the CTs and the daily precipitation are investigated by computing: (1) the spatial patterns of the performance index (PI) for each CT and (2) the cross tabulations between the frequencies of occurrence of the CTs and the RPC scores of the daily precipitation, associated with each of the six sub-regions. Results suggest that two particular CTs affect the precipitation occurrence over most of the country, while the remaining ten provide more regional or negligible contributions to precipitation. The more (less) influencing CTs in each precipitation sub-region are then identified and a characterization of the main large-scale atmospheric features governing the winter precipitation fields is provided.