Skillful subseasonal prediction of U.S. Extreme warm days and standardized precipitation index in boreal summer

Douglas E. Miller, Zhuo Wang, Bo Li, Daniel S. Harnos, Trent Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Skillful subseasonal prediction of extreme heat and precipitation greatly benefits multiple sectors, including water management, public health, and agriculture, in mitigating the impact of extreme events. A statistical model is developed to predict the weekly frequency of extreme warm days and 14-day standardized precipitation index (SPI) during boreal summer in the United States. We use a leading principal component of U.S. soil moisture and an index based on the North Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) as predictors. The model outperforms the NCEP Climate Forecast System, version 2 (CFSv2), at weeks 3–4 in the eastern United States. It is found that the North Pacific SST anomalies persist for several weeks and are associated with a persistent wave train pattern, which leads to increased occurrences of blocking and extreme temperature over the eastern United States. Extreme dry soil moisture conditions persist into week 4 and are associated with an increase in sensible heat flux and a decrease in latent heat flux, which may help to maintain the overlying anticyclone. The clear-sky conditions associated with blocking anticyclones further decrease soil moisture and increase the frequency of extreme warm days. This skillful statistical model has the potential to aid in irrigation scheduling, crop planning, and reservoir operation and to provide mitigation of impacts from extreme heat events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5887-5898
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021


  • Atmosphere–land interaction
  • Atmosphere–ocean interaction
  • Blocking
  • Climate variability
  • Extreme events
  • Soil moisture
  • Statistical forecasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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