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Geographical Variations in Precipitation Yields and Circulation Types in Britain and Ireland

John C. Sweeney and Gregory P. O'Hare
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 17, No. 4 (1992), pp. 448-463
DOI: 10.2307/622710
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622710
Page Count: 16
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Geographical Variations in Precipitation Yields and Circulation Types in Britain and Ireland
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Abstract

The geographical distribution of daily precipitation with each of the Lamb-classification circulation types is examined for 65 locations in Britain and Ireland. Substantial differences in spatial receipt are related to exposure at the location concerned and length of ocean passage for the air mass involved. Airflow contrasts occurring at regional scales are also instrumental in producing geographical variability in receipt. Cyclonic south westerlies are identified as the most prolific precipitation-producing synoptic type for the area as a whole, while anticyclonic northerlies and north easterlies are the driest. Changes in the frequency of the 27 categories identified by Lamb are then examined over 130 years of record. A significant change in the make-up of the synoptic circulation is seen to have occurred in recent decades. Declining westerlies and increasing cyclonic and anticyclonic airflows are suggested as being primarily responsible for recent changes in precipitation geography. Future precipitation will be determined partly by such changes in airflow types.

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