Stratospheric connection to the abrupt end of the 2016/2017 iberian drought

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Southwestern Europe experienced extraordinary rainy and windy conditions in March 2018, leading to the end of the most severe drought since 1970 at continental scale. This anomalous weather was linked to a persistent negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern. Two weeks earlier a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) took place, preceded by the strongest planetary wave activity on record. In this study, we explore the connection between the SSW and the weather shift by employing a weather regime approach and flow analogues. The timing of the downward propagation of the stratospheric anomalies, the transition to and persistence of the negative North Atlantic Oscillation weather regime, and the sudden precipitation increase are all consistent with the typical tropospheric state after SSWs. Our results evidence a significant role of the 2018 SSW in the record-breaking precipitation event.
© 2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. B. A. and A. d. C. were funded by Ayudas para la contratación de personal postdoctoral en formación en docencia e investigación en departamentos de la UCM. M. A. is supported by the Programme Atracción de Talento de la Comunidad de Madrid (2016‐T2/AMB‐1405). J. M. G.‐P. was supported by a predoctoral research grant awarded by the Spanish Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (FPU16/01972). C. O. acknowledges funding from the Ramón y Cajal Programme of the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad under grant RYC‐2014‐15036. We acknowledge support from the Spanish National Projects STEADY (CGL2017‐83198‐R) and PALEOSTRAT (CGL2015‐69699) and the European Project 603557‐STRATOCLIM under program FP7‐ENV.2013.6.1‐2. NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis and CPC Global Unified Precipitation data were provided by the NOAA/OAR/ESRL PSD, Boulder, Colorado, USA, from their Web site at The authors would like to thank Judah Cohen and an anonymous reviewer.
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