Northern Utah's climate variability and prediction

The above graph shows the water-year precipitation changes standardized to reflect the climate anomalies. The observed period (blue) reveals the signature cyclic behavior of northern Utah's climate regime[1, 2]. This type of climate cycle can be traced to slow variations in the western tropical Pacific and the jet stream position. By capturing these slow variations[3, 4], researchers at USU were able to build a prediction for the next few years.

The predicted water-year climate anomaly (red) shows wetter-than-normal winters to be expected by 2020. This prediction reflects rough the domain as shown here.

The Salt Lake Tribune Articles:

"patterns in Utah's wet-dry cycles"

"Drought, other climate cycles settling into Utah"


1. Wang, S.-Y., R. R. Gillies, J. Jin, and L. E. Hipps, 2009: Recent rainfall cycle in the Intermountain Region as a quadrature amplitude modulation from the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L02705.

2. Wang, S.-Y.,R. R. Gillies, J. Jin, and L. E. Hipps, 2010: Coherence between the Great Salt Lake level and the Pacific quasi-decadal oscillation, J. Climate, 23,2161–2177.

3. Wang, S.-Y., R. R. Gillies, L. E. Hipps, and J. Jin, 2011: A transition-phase teleconnection of the Pacific quasi-decadal oscillation, Clim Dynamics, 36, 681-693.

4. Wang, S.-Y., R. R. Gillies, and T. Reichler, 2012: Multi-decadal drought cycles in the Great Basin recorded by the Great Salt Lake: Modulation from a transition-phase teleconnection. Journal of Climate, 25, 1711-1721.