When heavy rain falls over the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean, it is a good indicator that temperatures in central California will reach 100°F in four to 16 days.

This study examines associations between California Central Valley (CCV) heat waves and the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). These heat waves have major economic impact. Our prior work showed that CCV heat waves are frequently preceded by convection over the tropical Indian and eastern Pacific oceans, in patterns identifiable with MJO phases. The main analysis method is lagged composites (formed after each MJO phase pair) of CCV synoptic station temperature, outgoing longwave radiation (OLR), and velocity potential (VP). Over the CCV, positive temperature anomalies occur only after the Indian Ocean (phases 2–3) or eastern Pacific Ocean (phases 8–1) convection (implied by OLR and VP fields). The largest fractions of CCV hot days occur in the two weeks after onset of those two phase pairs. OLR and VP composites have significant subsidence and convergence above divergence over the CCV during heat waves, and these structures are each part of larger patterns having significant areas over the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Prior studies showed that CCV heat waves can be roughly grouped into two clusters: Cluster 2 is preceded by a heat wave over northwestern North America, while Cluster 1 is not. OLR and VP composite analyses are applied separately to these two clusters. However, for Cluster 2, the subsidence and VP over the CCV are not significant, and the large-scale VP pattern has low correlation with the MJO lagged composite field. Therefore, the association between the MJO convection and subsequent CCV heat wave is more evident in Cluster 1 than Cluster 2.