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Huss, M, Bookhagen B, Huggel C, Jacobsen D, Bradley RS, Clague JJ, Vuille M, Buytaert W, Cayan DR, Greenwood G, Mark BG, Milner AM, Weingartner R, Winder M.  2017.  Toward mountains without permanent snow and ice. Earths Future. 5:418-435.   10.1002/2016ef000514   AbstractWebsite

The cryosphere in mountain regions is rapidly declining, a trend that is expected to accelerate over the next several decades due to anthropogenic climate change. A cascade of effects will result, extending from mountains to lowlands with associated impacts on human livelihood, economy, and ecosystems. With rising air temperatures and increased radiative forcing, glaciers will become smaller and, in some cases, disappear, the area of frozen ground will diminish, the ratio of snow to rainfall will decrease, and the timing and magnitude of both maximum and minimum streamflow will change. These changes will affect erosion rates, sediment, and nutrient flux, and the biogeochemistry of rivers and proglacial lakes, all of which influence water quality, aquatic habitat, and biotic communities. Changes in the length of the growing season will allow low-elevation plants and animals to expand their ranges upward. Slope failures due to thawing alpine permafrost, and outburst floods from glacier-and moraine-dammed lakes will threaten downstream populations.Societies even well beyond the mountains depend on meltwater from glaciers and snow for drinking water supplies, irrigation, mining, hydropower, agriculture, and recreation. Here, we review and, where possible, quantify the impacts of anticipated climate change on the alpine cryosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, and consider the implications for adaptation to a future of mountains without permanent snow and ice.

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
Knowles, N, Dettinger MD, Cayan DR.  2006.  Trends in snowfall versus rainfall in the Western United States. Journal of Climate. 19:4545-4559.   10.1175/jcli3850.1   AbstractWebsite

The water resources of the western United States depend heavily on snowpack to store part of the wintertime precipitation into the drier summer months. A well-documented shift toward earlier runoff in recent decades has been attributed to 1) more precipitation falling as rain instead of snow and 2) earlier snowmelt. The present study addresses the former, documenting a regional trend toward smaller ratios of winter-total snowfall water equivalent (SFE) to winter-total precipitation (P) during the period 1949-2004. The trends toward reduced SFE are a response to warming across the region, with the most significant reductions occurring where winter wet-day minimum temperatures, averaged over the study period, were warmer than -5 degrees C. Most SFE reductions were associated with winter wet-day temperature increases between 0 degrees and -3 degrees C over the study period. Warmings larger than this occurred mainly at sites where the mean temperatures were cool enough that the precipitation form was less susceptible to warming trends. The trends toward reduced SFE/P ratios were most pronounced in March regionwide and in January near the West Coast, corresponding to widespread warming in these months. While mean temperatures in March were sufficiently high to allow the warming trend to produce SFE/P declines across the study region, mean January temperatures were cooler, with the result that January SFE/P impacts were restricted to the lower elevations near the West Coast. Extending the analysis back to 1920 shows that although the trends presented here may be partially attributable to interdecadal climate variability associated with the Pacific decadal oscillation, they also appear to result from still longer-term climate shifts.

Rodo, X, Curcoll R, Robinson M, Ballester J, Burns JC, Cayan DR, Lipkin WI, Williams BL, Couto-Rodriguez M, Nakamura Y, Uehara R, Tanimoto H, Morgui JA.  2014.  Tropospheric winds from northeastern China carry the etiologic agent of Kawasaki disease from its source to Japan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111:7952-7957.   10.1073/pnas.1400380111   AbstractWebsite

Evidence indicates that the densely cultivated region of northeastern China acts as a source for the wind-borne agent of Kawasaki disease (KD). KD is an acute, coronary artery vasculitis of young children, and still a medical mystery after more than 40 y. We used residence times from simulations with the flexible particle dispersion model to pinpoint the source region for KD. Simulations were generated from locations spanning Japan from days with either high or low KD incidence. The postepidemic interval (1987-2010) and the extreme epidemics (1979, 1982, and 1986) pointed to the same source region. Results suggest a very short incubation period (<24 h) from exposure, thus making an infectious agent unlikely. Sampling campaigns over Japan during the KD season detected major differences in the microbiota of the tropospheric aerosols compared with ground aerosols, with the unexpected finding of the Candida species as the dominant fungus from aloft samples (54% of all fungal strains). These results, consistent with the Candida animal model for KD, provide support for the concept and feasibility of a windborne pathogen. A fungal toxin could be pursued as a possible etiologic agent of KD, consistent with an agricultural source, a short incubation time and synchronized outbreaks. Our study suggests that the causative agent of KD is a preformed toxin or environmental agent rather than an organism requiring replication. We propose a new paradigm whereby an idiosyncratic immune response, influenced by host genetics triggered by an environmental exposure carried on winds, results in the clinical syndrome known as acute KD.

White, AB, Anderson ML, Dettinger MD, Ralph FM, Hinojosa A, Cayan DR, Hartman RK, Reynolds DW, Johnson LE, Schneider TL, Cifelli R, Toth Z, Gutman SI, King CW, Gehrke F, Johnston PE, Walls C, Mann D, Gottas DJ, Coleman T.  2013.  A twenty-first-century California observing network for monitoring extreme weather events. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 30:1585-1603.   10.1175/jtech-d-12-00217.1   AbstractWebsite

During Northern Hemisphere winters, the West Coast of North America is battered by extratropical storms. The impact of these storms is of paramount concern to California, where aging water supply and flood protection infrastructures are challenged by increased standards for urban flood protection, an unusually variable weather regime, and projections of climate change. Additionally, there are inherent conflicts between releasing water to provide flood protection and storing water to meet requirements for the water supply, water quality, hydropower generation, water temperature and flow for at-risk species, and recreation. To improve reservoir management and meet the increasing demands on water, improved forecasts of precipitation, especially during extreme events, are required. Here, the authors describe how California is addressing their most important and costliest environmental issue-water management-in part, by installing a state-of-the-art observing system to better track the area's most severe wintertime storms.