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Old 04-30-2021, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Ithaca, NY
13 posts, read 2,876 times
Reputation: 38

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There's something that's always confused me about the climate of the US. From the Appalachians to around the Mississippi River, annual precipitation levels are pretty similar. For example, between 41 and 42 degrees north, there are a lot of cities with similar levels of precipitation. Hartford gets around 45 inches of annual precipitation, probably due to ocean influences, but Scranton, Cleveland, Chicago, and Des Moines all receive 35-40 inches, despite massive variation in how far they are from the sea. Then, in Nebraska, something dramatic happens. Omaha receives 30 inches, which is already a bit weird because Des Moines gets 36 despite being really close and having no mountains or anything between that would block precipitation. Then, North Platte at the western end of Nebraska gets 20 inches. There was a 33% dropoff between the two cities. Similar patterns can be seen when looking at other Great Plains states It's so weird that in the Eastern US precipitation stays relatively the same, but when the plains are reached there's such a dramatic drop off. Does anyone know why this is the case? Does the Gulf of Mexico have something to do with it?

Also, I'm aware that I used inches when most people use millimeters. For everyone using mm, 20 inches is like 500mm, 30 is around 750, and 40 is like 1000.
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Old 04-30-2021, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
4,409 posts, read 2,899,587 times
Reputation: 1647
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrychips666 View Post
There's something that's always confused me about the climate of the US. From the Appalachians to around the Mississippi River, annual precipitation levels are pretty similar. For example, between 41 and 42 degrees north, there are a lot of cities with similar levels of precipitation. Hartford gets around 45 inches of annual precipitation, probably due to ocean influences, but Scranton, Cleveland, Chicago, and Des Moines all receive 35-40 inches, despite massive variation in how far they are from the sea. Then, in Nebraska, something dramatic happens. Omaha receives 30 inches, which is already a bit weird because Des Moines gets 36 despite being really close and having no mountains or anything between that would block precipitation. Then, North Platte at the western end of Nebraska gets 20 inches. There was a 33% dropoff between the two cities. Similar patterns can be seen when looking at other Great Plains states It's so weird that in the Eastern US precipitation stays relatively the same, but when the plains are reached there's such a dramatic drop off. Does anyone know why this is the case? Does the Gulf of Mexico have something to do with it?

Also, I'm aware that I used inches when most people use millimeters. For everyone using mm, 20 inches is like 500mm, 30 is around 750, and 40 is like 1000.
The gulf moisture influence decreases the further west you go into the continental interior of North America, and also the rain shadow of the Rockies intensifies as you get further into the Great Plains east of the Rockies.
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Old 05-02-2021, 06:37 PM
 
295 posts, read 135,035 times
Reputation: 176
I also think the Great Lakes have some effect on rainfall totals in the Lower Midwest.
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Old 05-02-2021, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Willamette Valley Oregon
330 posts, read 201,455 times
Reputation: 145
We have localized versions of that here in Oregon. I miss questions like these that actually got into the nitty gritty of things instead of just stupid climate battles over and over. The hey day of this forum was chocked full of good climate questions now it's fast food sound bites designed to confuse young fools.
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Old Yesterday, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Moving?!
922 posts, read 355,900 times
Reputation: 1743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isleofpalms85 View Post
The gulf moisture influence decreases the further west you go into the continental interior of North America, and also the rain shadow of the Rockies intensifies as you get further into the Great Plains east of the Rockies.
Yep.

https://api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:59036676
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Old Today, 04:22 AM
 
Location: Live:Downtown Phoenix, AZ/Work:Greater Los Angeles, CA
25,850 posts, read 10,241,877 times
Reputation: 8532
Once you go west of 97°F longitude, you are no longer north of the GOMEX, so southerly winds west of there are land based rather than ocean based
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Old Today, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Buenos Aires and La Plata, ARG
2,594 posts, read 2,157,846 times
Reputation: 1795
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrychips666 View Post
There's something that's always confused me about the climate of the US. From the Appalachians to around the Mississippi River, annual precipitation levels are pretty similar. For example, between 41 and 42 degrees north, there are a lot of cities with similar levels of precipitation. Hartford gets around 45 inches of annual precipitation, probably due to ocean influences, but Scranton, Cleveland, Chicago, and Des Moines all receive 35-40 inches, despite massive variation in how far they are from the sea. Then, in Nebraska, something dramatic happens. Omaha receives 30 inches, which is already a bit weird because Des Moines gets 36 despite being really close and having no mountains or anything between that would block precipitation. Then, North Platte at the western end of Nebraska gets 20 inches. There was a 33% dropoff between the two cities. Similar patterns can be seen when looking at other Great Plains states It's so weird that in the Eastern US precipitation stays relatively the same, but when the plains are reached there's such a dramatic drop off. Does anyone know why this is the case? Does the Gulf of Mexico have something to do with it?

Also, I'm aware that I used inches when most people use millimeters. For everyone using mm, 20 inches is like 500mm, 30 is around 750, and 40 is like 1000.
There is something called 'altitude gain' going on there. As trade wins rise, their moisture got suck out.
And also you have this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FirebirdCamaro1220 View Post
Once you go west of 97°F longitude, you are no longer north of the GOMEX, so southerly winds west of there are land based rather than ocean based
So, overall, isn't something strange. It happens here in the Pampas too, at an even more dramatic rate. East end of Buenos Aires province it rains twice as much as the west end whilst the elevation goes only from sea level to 400mts at most.

Last edited by marlaver; Today at 04:22 PM..
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Old Today, 08:50 PM
 
Location: SF/East Bay
3,851 posts, read 4,324,673 times
Reputation: 4324
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrychips666 View Post
Omaha receives 30 inches, which is already a bit weird because Des Moines gets 36 despite
Omaha also receives six inches less than Kansas City. In 1890, Omaha was booming, and had grown larger than KC as the eastern terminus of the original transcontinental railroad. But then unlike KC, it actually lost population in the 1890s due to a massive drought in Eastern Nebraska. You could make a case that the low levels of rainfall stunted the city's growth.
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