Examining the contribution of the observed global warming trend to the California droughts of 2012/13 and 2013/14

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Andrew Hoell, Daithi Stone
By: , and 

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Abstract

While the SST trend mode has resulted in large SST increases that appear associated with an equatorial precipitation dipole response contrasting increases over the western Pacific and decreases over the central Pacific, the location of most of this warming is to the west of the key sensitivity areas identified in our CMIP5 composite. Removing this warming did not increase the CAM5 precipitation over California in a statistically significant manner, thus there appears to be little evidence that this long term warming trend contributed substantially to the 2013 and 2014 drought events. This result appears consistent with the lack of a long term downward trend in California precipitation. California precipitation does appear to be sensitive to north Pacific SST, and climate change models indicate substantial warming. If SST events like the unprecedented 2014 north Pacific SST anomaly become more common, California could also experience more frequent droughts. In addition, given the strong thermal control on evaporation, snowmelt, and water resources in California, the long-term warming is continuing to exert a growing stress on water availability.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Examining the contribution of the observed global warming trend to the California droughts of 2012/13 and 2013/14
Series title Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
DOI 10.1175/1520-0477-95.9.S1.1
Volume 95
Issue 9
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Meteorological Society
Publisher location Easton, PA
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Explaining Extreme Events of 2013: Special Supplement
First page S11
Last page S15
Country United States
State California
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N