Author ORCID Identifier

Vittorio Gensini:

Publication Title

npj Climate and Atmospheric Science

Document Type



The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of intraseasonal variability in the tropics and has a documented influence on extratropical extreme weather through modulation of synoptic atmospheric conditions. MJO phase has been correlated with anomalous tornado and severe hail frequency in the United States (US). However, the robustness of this relationship is unsettled, and the variability of physical pathways to modulation is poorly understood, despite the socioeconomic impacts that tornadoes and hail evoke. We approached this problem using pentad MJO indices and practically perfect severe weather hindcasts. MJO lifecycles were cataloged and clustered to document variability and potential pathways to enhanced subseasonal tornado and hail predictability. Statistically significant increases in US tornado and hail probabilities were documented 3–4 weeks following the period of the strongest upper-level divergence for the 53 active MJO events that propagated past the Maritime continent, contrasting with the 47 MJO events that experienced the barrier effect, during boreal spring 1979–2019. The 53 MJO events that propagated past the Maritime continent revealed three prevailing MJO evolutions—each containing unique pathways and modulation of US tornado and hail frequency—advancing our knowledge and capability to anticipate these hazards at extended lead times.

Publication Date





The version of record of this article, first published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, is available online at Publisher’s website:

Original Citation

Miller, D.E., Gensini, V.A. & Barrett, B.S. Madden-Julian oscillation influences United States springtime tornado and hail frequency. npj Clim Atmos Sci 5, 37 (2022).

Fulltext File with Record



Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences