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Sea Surface Salinity Provides Subseasonal Predictability for Forecasts of Opportunity of U.S. Summertime Precipitation
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  • Marybeth Arcodia,
  • Elizabeth A. Barnes,
  • Paul James Durack,
  • Patrick Keys,
  • Juliette Rocha
Marybeth Arcodia
Colorado State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Elizabeth A. Barnes
Colorado State University
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Paul James Durack
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (DOE)
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Patrick Keys
Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University
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Juliette Rocha
Texas A&M University
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As oceanic moisture evaporates, it leaves a signature on sea surface salinity. Roughly 10% of the moisture that evaporates over the ocean is transported over land, allowing the salinity fields to be a predictor of terrestrial precipitation. This research is among the first in published literature to assess the role of sea surface salinity for improved predictions on low-skill summertime subseasonal timescales for terrestrial precipitation predictions. Neural networks are trained with the CESM2 Large Ensemble using North Atlantic salinity anomalies to quantify predictability of U.S. Midwest summertime heavy rainfall events at 0 to 56-day leads. Using explainable artificial intelligence, salinity anomalies in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico are found to provide skill for subseasonal forecasts of opportunity, e.g. confident and correct predictions. Further, a moisture-tracking algorithm applied to reanalysis data demonstrates that the regions of evaporation identified by neural networks directly provide moisture that precipitates in the Midwest.