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Corringham, TW, Cayan DR.  2019.  The effect of El Nino on flood damages in the western United States. Weather Climate and Society. 11:489-504.   10.1175/wcas-d-18-0071.1   AbstractWebsite

This paper quantifies insured flood losses across the western United States from 1978 to 2017, presenting a spatiotemporal analysis of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) daily claims and losses over this period. While considerably lower (only 3.3%) than broader measures of direct damages measured by a National Weather Service (NWS) dataset, NFIP insured losses are highly correlated to the annual damages in the NWS dataset, and the NFIP data provide flood impacts at a fine degree of spatial resolution. The NFIP data reveal that 1% of extreme events, covering wide spatial areas, caused over 66% of total insured losses. Connections between extreme events and El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that have been documented in past research are borne out in the insurance data. In coastal Southern California and across the Southwest, El Nino conditions have had a strong effect in producing more frequent and higher magnitudes of insured losses, while La Nina conditions significantly reduce both the frequency and magnitude of losses. In the Pacific Northwest, the opposite pattern appears, although the effect is weaker and less spatially coherent. The persistent evolution of ENSO offers the possibility for property owners, policy makers, and emergency planners and responders that unusually high or low flood damages could be predicted in advance of the primary winter storm period along the West Coast. Within the 40-yr NFIP history, it is found that the multivariate ENSO index would have provided an 8-month look-ahead for heightened damages in Southern California.

Cloern, JE, Knowles N, Brown LR, Cayan D, Dettinger MD, Morgan TL, Schoellhamer DH, Stacey MT, van der Wegen M, Wagner RW, Jassby AD.  2011.  Projected evolution of California's San Francisco Bay-Delta-River System in a century of climate change. Plos One. 6   10.1371/journal.pone.0024465   AbstractWebsite

Background: Accumulating evidence shows that the planet is warming as a response to human emissions of greenhouse gases. Strategies of adaptation to climate change will require quantitative projections of how altered regional patterns of temperature, precipitation and sea level could cascade to provoke local impacts such as modified water supplies, increasing risks of coastal flooding, and growing challenges to sustainability of native species. Methodology/Principal Findings: We linked a series of models to investigate responses of California's San Francisco Estuary-Watershed (SFEW) system to two contrasting scenarios of climate change. Model outputs for scenarios of fast and moderate warming are presented as 2010-2099 projections of nine indicators of changing climate, hydrology and habitat quality. Trends of these indicators measure rates of: increasing air and water temperatures, salinity and sea level; decreasing precipitation, runoff, snowmelt contribution to runoff, and suspended sediment concentrations; and increasing frequency of extreme environmental conditions such as water temperatures and sea level beyond the ranges of historical observations. Conclusions/Significance: Most of these environmental indicators change substantially over the 21(st) century, and many would present challenges to natural and managed systems. Adaptations to these changes will require flexible planning to cope with growing risks to humans and the challenges of meeting demands for fresh water and sustaining native biota. Programs of ecosystem rehabilitation and biodiversity conservation in coastal landscapes will be most likely to meet their objectives if they are designed from considerations that include: (1) an integrated perspective that river-estuary systems are influenced by effects of climate change operating on both watersheds and oceans; (2) varying sensitivity among environmental indicators to the uncertainty of future climates; (3) inevitability of biological community changes as responses to cumulative effects of climate change and other drivers of habitat transformations; and (4) anticipation and adaptation to the growing probability of ecosystem regime shifts.

Clemesha, RES, Gershunov A, Iacobellis SF, Williams AP, Cayan DR.  2016.  The northward march of summer low cloudiness along the California coast. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:1287-1295.   10.1002/2015gl067081   AbstractWebsite

A new satellite-derived low cloud retrieval reveals rich spatial texture and coherent space-time propagation in summertime California coastal low cloudiness (CLC). Throughout the region, CLC is greatest during May-September but has considerable monthly variability within this summer season. On average, June is cloudiest along the coast of southern California and northern Baja, Mexico, while July is cloudiest along northern California's coast. Over the course of the summer, the core of peak CLC migrates northward along coastal California, reaching its northernmost extent in late July/early August, then recedes while weakening. The timing and movement of the CLC climatological structure is related to the summer evolution of lower tropospheric stability and both its component parts, sea surface temperature and potential temperature at 700hPa. The roughly coincident seasonal timing of peak CLC with peak summertime temperatures translates into the strongest heat-modulating capacity of CLC along California's north coast.

Clemesha, RES, Gershunov A, Iacobellis SF, Cayan DR.  2017.  Daily variability of California coastal low cloudiness: A balancing act between stability and subsidence. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:3330-3338.   10.1002/2017gl073075   AbstractWebsite

We examine mechanisms driving daily variability of summer coastal low cloudiness (CLC) along the California coast. Daily CLC is derived from a satellite record from 1996 to 2014. Atmospheric rather than oceanic processes are mostly responsible for daily fluctuations in vertical stability that dictate short-period variation in CLC structure. Daily CLC anomalies are most strongly correlated to lower tropospheric stability anomalies to the north. The spatially offset nature of the cloud-stability relationship is a result of the balancing act that affects low cloudiness wherein subsidence drives increased stability, which promotes cloudiness, but too much subsidence limits cloudiness. Lay explanations claim that high inland temperatures pull in CLC, but such a process presumably would have the high temperatures directly inland. Rather, we find that the spatially offset associations between CLC and atmospheric circulation result in positive correlations between CLC and inland surface temperature anomalies to the north.

Chen, SC, Cayan DR.  1994.  Low-frequency aspects of the large-scale circulation and West Coast United States temperature/precipitation fluctuations in a simplified general circulation model. Journal of Climate. 7:1668-1683.   10.1175/1520-0442(1994)007<1668:lfaotl>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Behavior of regional precipitation and temperature over the West Coast of the United States was examined in a long perpetual winter simulation from a simplified global general circulation model. The model, a simplified version of the U.S. National Weather Service global operational forecast model, was run over a series of 568 winters, complete with geopotential, precipitation, and near-surface temperature. In spite of the fixed climatological boundary conditions, the simulated winter-mean precipitation and temperature anomalies have a fairly realistic low-frequency regional variability. Both synoptic-scale events and seasonal average behavior are produced quite realistically by the model. Like observations, the regional surface variations can be related to the large-scale low-frequency circulation. Four regional temperature/precipitation extremes-namely, warm/dry, cool/wet, cool/dry, and warm/wet-can be identified from the simulated winter-mean time series over the West Coast. Associated with these four regional extremes, model Northern Hemisphere 500-mb height composites exhibit distinct planetary-scale circulation patterns. An empirical orthogonal function analysis further reveals that the first and third modes of the 500-mb height anomalies are primary contributors to these four regional extremes. The first mode largely governs the regional temperature variation, whereas the third mode largely determines the precipitation variation.

Cayan, DR, Dettinger MD, Diaz HF, Graham NE.  1998.  Decadal variability of precipitation over western North America. Journal of Climate. 11:3148-3166.   10.1175/1520-0442(1998)011<3148:dvopow>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Decadal (>7- yr period) variations of precipitation over western North America account for 20%-50% of the variance of annual precipitation. Spatially, the decadal variability is broken into several regional [O(1000 km)] components. These decadal variations are contributed by fluctuations in precipitation from seasons of the year that vary from region to region and that are not necessarily concentrated in the wettest season(s) alone. The precipitation variations are linked to various decadal atmospheric circulation and SST anomaly patterns where scales range from regional to global scales and that emphasize tropical or extratropical connections, depending upon which precipitation region is considered. Further, wet or dry decades are associated with changes in frequency of at least a few shea-period circulation "modes" such as the pacific-North American pattern. precipitation fluctuations over the southwestern United States and the Saskatchewan region of western Canada are associated with extensive shifts of sea level pressure and SST anomalies, suggesting that they are components of low-frequency precipitation variability from global-scale climate processes. Consistent with the global scale of its pressure and SST connection, the Southwest decadal precipitation is aligned with opposing precipitation fluctuations in northern Africa.

Cayan, DR.  1992.  Latent and sensible heat flux anomalies over the Northern Oceans: Driving the sea surface temperature. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 22:859-881.   10.1175/1520-0485(1992)022<0859:lashfa>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

A part of the large-scale thermodynamic forcing of the upper ocean is examined by relating monthly anomalous latent and sensible heat flux to changes in sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies over the North Atlantic and North Pacific. The fluxes are estimated using bulk formulas from a set of about four decades of marine observations from the COADS dataset from 1946 to 1986. Monthly anomalies are constructed by removing the long-term monthly means. The latent and sensible flux anomalies are strongly correlated over most of the ocean, so they are considered together as a sum. The heat flux estimates contain large spatial-scale anomalies consistent with both atmospheric circulation anomalies and with month-to-month changes (tendencies) in monthly SST anomalies. The monthly flux anomalies and the SST anomaly tendency are significantly con-elated over much of the oceans, with anomalous positive/negative fluxes associated with anomalous cooling/warming. The connection between the flux and the SST tendency anomalies is strongest in the extratropics during the cool season when the latent and sensible fluxes and their variability are greatest, and the radiative fluxes are weakest. While the heat flux forcing of the SST anomalies operates locally, the flux and SST tendency anomalies are organized over spatial scales that often span major portions of the North Atlantic and North Pacific. For each basin, canonical correlations expose large-scale, collocated anomaly patterns in the two fields. These patterns reflect the control exerted by the large-scale atmospheric circulation, inferred from sea level pressure (SLP) modes. Evidence for this result is the strong similarity in the configuration of anomalous flux and SST tendency patterns in their association with major SLP modes. Typical flux anomalies of 50 W m-2 are associated with monthly SST anomaly changes of order 0.2-degrees-C. The surface-layer thickness inferred from a simplified model relating the flux anomalies to the temperature anomalies of a slab ocean is consistent in magnitude and seasonal cycle with the observed mixed-layer depth in middle latitudes.

Cayan, DR, Das T, Pierce DW, Barnett TP, Tyree M, Gershunov A.  2010.  Future dryness in the southwest US and the hydrology of the early 21st century drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107:21271-21276.   10.1073/pnas.0912391107   AbstractWebsite

Recently the Southwest has experienced a spate of dryness, which presents a challenge to the sustainability of current water use by human and natural systems in the region. In the Colorado River Basin, the early 21st century drought has been the most extreme in over a century of Colorado River flows, and might occur in any given century with probability of only 60%. However, hydrological model runs from downscaled Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment climate change simulations suggest that the region is likely to become drier and experience more severe droughts than this. In the latter half of the 21st century the models produced considerably greater drought activity, particularly in the Colorado River Basin, as judged from soil moisture anomalies and other hydrological measures. As in the historical record, most of the simulated extreme droughts build up and persist over many years. Durations of depleted soil moisture over the historical record ranged from 4 to 10 years, but in the 21st century simulations, some of the dry events persisted for 12 years or more. Summers during the observed early 21st century drought were remarkably warm, a feature also evident in many simulated droughts of the 21st century. These severe future droughts are aggravated by enhanced, globally warmed temperatures that reduce spring snowpack and late spring and summer soil moisture. As the climate continues to warm and soil moisture deficits accumulate beyond historical levels, the model simulations suggest that sustaining water supplies in parts of the Southwest will be a challenge.

Cayan, DR, Georgakakos KP.  1995.  Hydroclimatology of continental watersheds: 2. Spatial analyses. Water Resources Research. 31:677-697.   10.1029/94wr02376   AbstractWebsite

We diagnose the spatial patterns and further examine temporal behavior of anomalous monthly-seasonal precipitation, temperature, and atmospheric circulation in relationship to hydrologic (soil water and potential evapotranspiration) fluctuations at two watersheds in the central United States. The bulk hydrologic balance at each of the two watersheds, Boone River, Iowa (BN), and Bird Creek, Oklahoma (BC), was determined from the rainfall-runoff-routing watershed model described in part 1. There are many similarities among the hydroclimatic linkages at the two basins. In both, relationships with precipitation and temperature indicate that the forcing occurs on regional scales, much larger than the individual watersheds. Precipitation exhibits anomaly variability over 500-km scales, and sometimes larger. Anomalous temperature, which is strongly correlated with potential evapotranspiration, often extends from the Great Plains to the Appalachian Mountains. Seasonally, the temperature and precipitation anomalies tend to have greatest spatial coherence in fall and least in summer. The temperature and precipitation tend to have out-of-phase anomalies (e.g., warm associated with dry). Thus low soil water conditions are reinforced by low precipitation and high potential evapotranspiration, and vice versa for high soil water. Soil water anomalies in each basin accumulate over a history of significant large-scale climate forcing that usually appears one or two seasons in advance. These forcing fields are produced by atmospheric circulation anomaly patterns that often take on hemispheric scales. BN and BC have strong similarities in their monthly circulation patterns producing heavy/light monthly precipitation episodes, the primary means of forcing of the watersheds. The patterns exhibit regional high or low geopotential anomalies just upstream over the western United States or near the center of the country. The regional circulation features are often part of a train, with teleconnections upstream over the North Pacific and downstream over the North Atlantic/Eurasia sector. Synoptic scale events exhibit very similar patterns to the monthly circulations, only more intense.

Cayan, DR, Douglas AV.  1984.  Urban influences on surface temperatures in the southwestern United States during recent decades. Journal of Climate and Applied Meteorology. 23:1520-1530.   10.1175/1520-0450(1984)023<1520:uiosti>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Trends of surface temperature at rapidly growing urban sites during the last three to five decades are compared to those at non-urban sites, temperatures at 70 kPa, and sea surface temperature at a coastal Pacific station. Significant urban heat island effects have apparently taken hold, with urban-affected temperature increases of 1 to 2°C common over this period. In contrast, the trend of the non-urban records has been distinctly smaller over this period. The urban warming appears to be predominantly a nighttime phenomenon, with minimum temperatures displaying considerably more increase than maximum temperatures. No uniform seasonal preference for this increase emerged from these stations. Because of this increase, the distribution of observed temperatures shows a marked warm bias at several of the urban sites during recent years.

Cayan, DR, Bromirski PD, Hayhoe K, Tyree M, Dettinger MD, Flick RE.  2008.  Climate change projections of sea level extremes along the California coast. Climatic Change. 87:S57-S73.   10.1007/s10584-007-9376-7   AbstractWebsite

California's coastal observations and global model projections indicate that California's open coast and estuaries will experience rising sea levels over the next century. During the last several decades, the upward historical trends, quantified from a small set of California tide gages, have been approximately 20 cm/century, quite similar to that estimated for global mean sea level. In the next several decades, warming produced by climate model simulations indicates that sea level rise (SLR) could substantially exceed the rate experienced during modem human development along the California coast and estuaries. A range of future SLR is estimated from a set of climate simulations governed by lower (B1), middle-upper (A2), and higher (A1fi) GHG emission scenarios. Projecting SLR from the ocean warming in GCMs, observational evidence of SLR, and separate calculations using a simple climate model yields a range of potential sea level increases, from 11 to 72 cm, by the 2070-2099 period. The combination of predicted astronomical tides with projected weather forcing, El Nino related variability, and secular SLR, gives a series of hourly sea level projections for 2005-2100. Gradual sea level rise progressively worsens the impacts of high tides, surge and waves resulting from storms, and also freshwater floods from Sierra and coastal mountain catchments. The occurrence of extreme sea levels is pronounced when these factors coincide. The frequency and magnitude of extreme events, relative to current levels, follows a sharply escalating pattern as the magnitude of future sea level rise increases.

Cayan, DR, Peterson DH.  1993.  Spring climate and salinity in the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Water Resources Research. 29:293-303.   10.1029/92wr02152   AbstractWebsite

Salinity in the San Francisco Bay Estuary almost always experiences its yearly maximum during late summer, but climate variability produces marked interannual variations. The atmospheric circulation pattern impacts the estuary primarily through variations of runoff from rainfall and snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada and, secondarily, through variations in the near-surface salinity in the coastal ocean. While winter precipitation is the primary influence upon salinity in the estuary, spring climate variations also contribute importantly to salinity fluctuations. Spring atmospheric circulation influences both the magnitude and the timing of freshwater flows, through anomalies of precipitation and temperature. To help discriminate between the effects of these two influences, the record is divided into subsets according to whether spring conditions in the region are cool and wet, warm and wet, cool and dry, or warm and dry. Warm springs promote early snowmelt-driven flows, and cool springs result in delayed flows. In addition to effects of winter and spring climate variability operating on the watershed, there are more subtle effects that are transmitted into the estuary from the coastal ocean. These influences are most pronounced in cool and dry springs with high surface salinity (SS) in the coastal ocean versus cool and wet springs with low SS in the coastal ocean. A transect of SS records at stations from the mouth to the head of the bay suggests that the coastal ocean anomaly signal is attenuated from the mouth to the interior of the estuary. In contrast, a delayed, postsummer signal caused by winter and spring runoff variations from the upstream watershed are most pronounced at the head of the estuary and attenuate toward the mouth.

Cayan, DR, Redmond KT, Riddle LG.  1999.  ENSO and hydrologic extremes in the western United States. Journal of Climate. 12:2881-2893.   10.1175/1520-0442(1999)012<2881:eaheit>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Frequency distributions of daily precipitation in winter and daily stream flow from late winter to early summer, at several hundred sites in the western United States, exhibit strong and systematic responses to the two phases of ENSO. Most of the stream flows considered are driven by snowmelt. The Southern Oscillation index (SOI) is used as the ENSO phase indicator. Both modest (median) and larger (90th percentile) events were considered. In years with negative SOI values (El Nino), days with high daily precipitation and stream flow are more frequent than average over the Southwest and less frequent over the Northwest. During years with positive SOI values (La Nino), a nearly opposite pattern is seen. A more pronounced increase is seen in the number of days exceeding climatological 90th percentile values than in the number exceeding climatological 50th percentile values, for both precipitation and stream flow. Stream flow responses to ENSO extremes are accentuated over precipitation responses. Evidence suggests that the mechanism for this amplification involves ENSO-phase differences in the persistence and duration of wet episodes, affecting the efficiency of the process by which precipitation is converted to runoff. The SOI leads the precipitation events by several months,and hydrologic lags (mostly through snowmelt) delay the stream flow response by several more months. The combined 6-12-month predictive aspect of this relationship should be of significant benefit in responding to flood (or drought) risk and in improving overall water management in the western states.

Cayan, DR.  1992.  Latent and sensible heat flux anomalies over the Northern Oceans: the connection to monthly atmospheric circulation. Journal of Climate. 5:354-369.   10.1175/1520-0442(1992)005<0354:lashfa>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

The influence of the atmospheric circulation on monthly anomalies of ocean surface latent and sensible heat fluxes is explored. The fluxes are estimated using bulk formulas applied to a set of about four decades of marine observations over 1946-1986. Monthly averaging over 5-degrees "squares" reduces errors contained in individual observations. The focus is on behavior of the flux anomalies over the relatively well-sampled North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans during winter, when the latent and sensible components are large and the incoming shortwave radiative flux is low. In the North Atlantic and North Pacific (north of about 15-degrees-N), flux anomalies are partially caused by local variations in the monthly mean wind direction. In these extratropical regions, largest positive anomalies occur during northerly to northwesterly winds in response to advection of humidity and temperature from north to south and also to favored directions experiencing strong wind speeds. In the tropics, there is little relationship between the direction and the latent and sensible flux anomalies, since horizontal gradients of humidity and temperature are weak and the wind direction is relatively steady. The most convincing connection between the wind and the flux anomalies is not local, but rather has basin scales associated with the monthly atmospheric circulation. In the North Atlantic and North Pacific, dominant atmospheric circulation modes, represented as empirical orthogonal functions of the sea level pressure (SLP) anomaly, have systematic patterns of the anomalies of wind speed (w), surface saturation humidity-air humidity difference (DELTA-q), and sea surface temperature-air temperature difference (DELTA-T); these produce large-scale patterns in the latent and sensible fluxes. In the extratropics, a major negative SLP anomaly tends to have positive w anomalies to its south and negative w anomalies to its north, while DELTA-q (and DELTA-T) anomalies lie to the west and east of the low, apparently because of meridional air advection. The resultant flux anomalies are shifted meridionally and zonally about the SLP centers, with enhanced sea-to-air fluxes to the southwest and diminished fluxes to the east of an anomalous low. Regions of increased monthly mean fluxes tend to have larger than normal intramonthly variability in the fluxes. Months with strong monthly atmospheric circulation anomalies frequently exhibit combined latent and sensible flux anomalies with magnitudes exceeding 50 W m-2 over several hundred kilometer regions.

Cayan, DR, Miller AJ, Barnett TP, Graham NE, Ritchie JN, Oberhuber JM.  1995.  Seasonal-interannual fluctuations in surface temperature over the Pacific: effects of monthly winds and heat fluxes. Natural climate variability on decade-to-century time scales. :133-150., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press Abstract
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Cayan, DR, Roads JO.  1984.  Local relationships between United States west coast precipitation and monthly mean circulation parameters. Monthly Weather Review. 112:1276-1282.   10.1175/1520-0493(1984)112<1276:lrbusw>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Monthly accumulations of area-averaged precipitation along the West Coast of the United States are related to estimates of local circulation parameters. The annual cycle as well as anomalous components of these quantities are compared. A strong annual cycle in most of the circulation parameters reflects the influence of the large-scale circulation on the annual variation of the precipitation field. For the anomalous monthly components, especially in winter, high correlations are found between precipitation and sea-level pressure or 70 kPa height. Other circulation parameters are also significantly correlated with the precipitation. These include the zonal and meridional wind components and the advection of relative vorticity.

Cayan, DR, Luers AL, Franco G, Hanemann M, Croes B, Vine E.  2008.  Overview of the California climate change scenarios project. Climatic Change. 87:S1-S6.   10.1007/s10584-007-9352-2   AbstractWebsite

In response to an Executive Order by California Governor Schwarzenegger, an evaluation of the implications to California of possible climate changes was undertaken using a scenario-based approach. The "Scenarios Project" investigated projected impacts of climate change on six sectors in the California region. The investigation considered the early, middle and later portions of the twenty-first century, guided by a set of IPCC Fourth Assessment global climate model runs forced by higher and lower greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Each of these climate simulations produce substantial impacts in California that would require adaptations from present practices or status. The most severe impacts could be avoided, however, if emissions can be held near the lower end of global greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

Cayan, DR, Riddle LG, Aguado E.  1993.  The influence of precipitation and temperature on seasonal streamflow in California. Water Resources Research. 29:1127-1140.   10.1029/92wr02802   AbstractWebsite

We examine the influence of climate parameters on seasonal streamflow in watersheds over a range of elevations in California and Oregon. Effects of precipitation, temperature, and snow water content (SWC) are diagnosed using linear regression models and categoric composites. Most of the models explain over 60-80% of the seasonal streamflow variability. The models and the composites provide insight into the climate influences which drive the individual watersheds. Low (warmer) basins have little snow and little memory of prior seasons' climate variability. High (cooler) basins, with more snow, have longer memories. Precipitation has the greatest influence on streamflow variations in spring. Temperature is important in spring in the mid and high elevations. By late spring, SWC accounts for nearly all of the summer streamflow variation at mid and high elevations, but earlier in the runoff season, precipitation and temperature add variance. The variations in surface climate parameters, including streamflow, are generally controlled by atmospheric circulation anomalies with a spatial scale much larger than those in watersheds. This explains why little skill was lost by broadening the scale of temperature and precipitation predictors to regional climate areas.

Cayan, DR, Kammerdiener SA, Dettinger MD, Caprio JM, Peterson DH.  2001.  Changes in the onset of spring in the western United States. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 82:399-415.   10.1175/1520-0477(2001)082<0399:citoos>2.3.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Fluctuations in spring climate in the western United States over the last 4-5 decades are described by examining changes in the blooming of plants and the timing of snowmelt-runoff pulses. The two measures of spring's onset that are employed are the timing of first bloom of lilac and honeysuckle bushes from a long-term cooperative phenological network, and the timing of the first major pulse of snowmelt recorded from high-elevation streams. Both measures contain year-to-year fluctuations, with typical year-to year fluctuations at a given site of one to three weeks. These fluctuations are spatially coherent, forming regional patterns that cover most of the west. Fluctuations in lilac first bloom dates are highly correlated to those of honeysuckle, and both are significantly correlated with those of the spring snowmelt pulse. Each of these measures, then, probably respond to a common mechanism. Various analyses indicate that anomalous temperature exerts the greatest influence upon both interannual and secular changes in the onset of spring in these networks. Earlier spring onsets since the late 1970s are a remarkable feature of the records, and reflect the unusual spell of warmer-than-normal springs in western North America during this period. The warm episodes are clearly related to larger-scale atmospheric conditions across North America and the North Pacific, but whether this is predominantly an expression of natural variability or also a symptom of global warming is not certain.

Cayan, DR.  1992.  Variability of latent and sensible heat fluxes estimated using bulk formulas. Atmosphere-Ocean. 30:1-42. AbstractWebsite

The spatial and temporal variability of monthly average latent and sensible heat flux over the oceans is explored. Monthly flux anomalies are estimated using bulk formulae applied to COADS marine data over 1946-1986. Emphasis is on behaviour during fall and winter over the well sampled North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans, but available data from the Indian Ocean, from the tropics and from the Southern Hemisphere are also included Random observation errors and random weather sampling errors are reduced by averaging several observations together. Biases in the observations and in the bulk formulae are not automatically reduced by averaging, but because the mean of the fluxes is subtracted to provide the anomalies, the non-time-varying biases are diminished Largest latent flux anomalies occur from the tropics to middle latitudes, and largest sensible flux anomalies appear in middle-to-high latitudes. In mid-latitudes, monthly latent and sensible flux anomalies are strongly correlated, so that they tend to be reinforcing. The bulk parametrizations indicate that the latent and sensible flux anomalies typically outweigh those of the radiative fluxes, except in the tropics and in the summer extratropics where net solar flux variations become important. An analysis of variance, which identifies the dominant contributions by the fundamental marine variables, yields results that emphasize the importance of the mean values, as well as the anomalies of these variables, in creating latent and sensible flux anomalies. Although they contain small-scale "noise", there is a marked signal in the flux anomalies that is spatially organized and quite strongly related to the monthly atmospheric circulation. The first four rotated empirical orthogonal functions (REOFs) of the sum of the latent and sensible flux anomalies account for about half of the total variance in the North Atlantic and North Pacific basins during winter months. The REOFs have magnitudes that represent anomalies that typically exceed 50 W m-2 over substantial portions of the ocean basins. Links to the atmospheric circulation also indicate a short-period climate signal. Correlations of the amplitudes of the REOFs of the fluxes with the sea-level pressure field exhibit patterns that strongly resemble frequently occurring modes of monthly circulation anomalies. In the extratropics during winter, the atmospheric circulation affects the Bowen ratio (sensible flux/latent flux). When the wind is more equatorward or more continental than normal, the Bowen ratio increases.

Cayan, DR.  1996.  Interannual climate variability and snowpack in the western United States. Journal of Climate. 9:928-948.   10.1175/1520-0442(1996)009<0928:icvasi>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

An important part of the water supply in the western United States is derived from runoff fed by mountain snowmelt. Snow accumulation responds to both precipitation and temperature variations, and forms an interesting climatic index, since it integrates these influences over the entire late fall-spring period. Here, effects of cool season climate variability upon snow water equivalent (SWE) over the western part of the conterminous United States are examined. The focus is on measurements on/around 1 April, when snow accumulation is typically greatest. The primary data, from a network of mountainous snow courses, provides a good description of interannual fluctuations in snow accumulations, since many snow courses have records of five decades or more. For any given year, the spring SWE anomaly at a particular snow course is likely to be 25%-60% of its long-term average. Five separate regions of anomalous SWE variability are distinguished, using a rotated principal components analysis. Although effects vary with region and with elevation, in general, the anomalous winter precipitation has the strongest influence on spring SWE fluctuations. Anomalous temperature has a weaker effect overall, but it has great influence in lower elevations such as in the coastal Northwest, and during spring in higher elevations. The regional snow anomaly patterns are associated with precipitation and temperature anomalies in winter and early spring. Patterns of the precipitation, temperature, and snow anomalies extend over broad regional areas, much larger than individual watersheds. These surface anomalies are organized by the atmospheric circulation, with primary anomaly centers over the North Pacific Ocean as well as over western North America. For most of the regions, anomalously low SWE is associated with a winter circulation resembling the PNA pattern. With a strong low in the central North Pacific and high pressure over the Pacific Northwest, this pattern diverts North Pacific storms northward, away from the region. Both warm and cool phases of El Nino-Southern Oscillation tend to produce regional pattens with out-of-phase SWE anomalies in the Northwest and the Southwest.

Cayan, DR, Peterson DH.  1989.  The influence of North Pacific atmospheric circulation on streamflow in the West. Aspects of climate variability in the Pacific and the western Americas. ( Peterson DH, Ed.).:375-397., Washington, DC, U.S.A.: American Geophysical Union Abstract
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Cayan, DR, Maurer EP, Dettinger MD, Tyree M, Hayhoe K.  2008.  Climate change scenarios for the California region. Climatic Change. 87:S21-S42.   10.1007/s10584-007-9377-6   AbstractWebsite

To investigate possible future climate changes in California, a set of climate change model simulations was selected and evaluated. From the IPCC Fourth Assessment, simulations of twenty-first century climates under a B1 (low emissions) and an A2 (a medium-high emissions) emissions scenarios were evaluated, along with occasional comparisons to the A1fi (high emissions) scenario. The climate models whose simulations were the focus of the present study were from the Parallel Climate Model (PCM1) from NCAR and DOE, and the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory CM2.1 model (GFDL). These emission scenarios and attendant climate simulations are not "predictions," but rather are a purposely diverse set of examples from among the many plausible climate sequences that might affect California in the next century. Temperatures over California warm significantly during the twenty-first century in each simulation, with end-of-century temperature increases from approximately +1.5 degrees C under the lower emissions B1 scenario in the less responsive PCM1 to +4.5 degrees C in the higher emissions A2 scenario within the more responsive GFDL model. Three of the simulations (all except the B1 scenario in PCM1) exhibit more warming in summer than in winter. In all of the simulations, most precipitation continues to occur in winter. Relatively small (less than similar to 10%) changes in overall precipitation are projected. The California landscape is complex and requires that model information be parsed out onto finer scales than GCMs presently offer. When downscaled to its mountainous terrain, warming has a profound influence on California snow accumulations, with snow losses that increase with warming. Consequently, snow losses are most severe in projections by the more responsive model in response to the highest emissions.

Cayan, DR.  1980.  Large-scale relationships between sea-surface temperature and surface air temperature. Monthly Weather Review. 108:1293-1301.   10.1175/1520-0493(1980)108<1293:lsrbss>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

Empirical relationships between the sea surface temperature (SST) and surface air temperatures (SAT) are examined on monthly, seasonal and annual time scales for Marsden square areas in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. On these time scales SST and SAT have roughly the same variance throughout the sample region. They are well correlated (contemporaneously) with warm seasons and months having slightly higher correlations than cold ones. For the most part, the spatial patterns and temporal changes in these statistics are similar between the North Atlantic and North Pacific.

Cayan, DR, Dettinger MD, Redmond K, McGabe G, Knowles N, Peterson DH.  2003.  The transboundary setting of California's water and hydropower systems - linkages between the Sierra Nevada, Columbia, and Colorado hydroclimates. Climate and water: transboundary challenges in the Americas. ( Diaz HF, Morehouse BJ, Eds.).:26., Dordrecht; Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers Abstract
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