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2017
Kamae, Y, Shiogama H, Imada Y, Mori M, Arakawa O, Mizuta R, Yoshida K, Takahashi C, Arai M, Ishii M, Watanabe M, Kimoto M, Xie SP, Ueda H.  2017.  Forced response and internal variability of summer climate over western North America. Climate Dynamics. 49:403-417.   10.1007/s00382-016-3350-x   AbstractWebsite

Over the past decade, anomalously hot summers and persistent droughts frequented over the western United States (wUS), the condition similar to the 1950s and 1960s. While atmospheric internal variability is important for mid-latitude interannual climate variability, it has been suggested that anthropogenic external forcing and multidecadal modes of variability in sea surface temperature, namely, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), also affect the occurrence of droughts and hot summers. In this study, 100-member ensemble simulations for 1951-2010 by an atmospheric general circulation model were used to explore relative contributions of anthropogenic warming, atmospheric internal variability, and atmospheric response to PDO and AMO to the decadal anomalies over the wUS. By comparing historical and sensitivity simulations driven by observed sea surface temperature, sea ice, historical forcing agents, and non-warming counterfactual climate forcing, we found that large portions of recent increases in mean temperature and frequency of hot summers (66 and 82 %) over the wUS can be attributed to the anthropogenic global warming. In contrast, multidecadal change in the wUS precipitation is explained by a combination of the negative PDO and the positive AMO after the 2000s. Diagnostics using a linear baroclinic model indicate that AMO- and PDO-related diabatic heating anomalies over the tropics contribute to the anomalous atmospheric circulation associated with the droughts and hot summers over wUS on multidecadal timescale. Those anomalies are not robust during the periods when PDO and AMO are in phase. The prolonged PDO-AMO antiphase period since the late twentieth century resulted in the substantial component of multidecadal anomalies in temperature and precipitation over the wUS.

Hu, HC, Dominguez F, Wang Z, Lavers DA, Zhang G, Ralph FM.  2017.  Linking atmospheric river hydrological impacts on the US West Coast to Rossby wave breaking. Journal of Climate. 30:3381-3399.   10.1175/jcli-d-16-0386.1   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) have significant hydrometeorological impacts on the U.S. West Coast. This study presents the connection between the characteristics of large-scale Rossby wave breaking (RWB) over the eastern North Pacific and the regional-scale hydrological impacts associated with landfalling ARs on the U.S. West Coast (36 degrees-49 degrees N). ARs associated with RWB account for two-thirds of the landfalling AR events and >70% of total AR-precipitation in the winter season. The two regimes of RWB-anticyclonic wave breaking (AWB) and cyclonic wave breaking (CWB)-are associated with different directions of the vertically integrated water vapor transport (IVT). AWB-ARs impinge in a more westerly direction on the coast whereas CWB-ARs impinge in a more southwesterly direction. Most of the landfalling ARs along the northwestern coast of the United States (states of Washington and Oregon) are AWB-ARs. Because of their westerly impinging angles when compared to CWB-ARs, AWBARs arrive more orthogonally to the western Cascades and more efficiently transform water vapor into precipitation through orographic lift than CWB-ARs. Consequently, AWB-ARs are associated with the most extreme streamflows in the region. Along the southwest coast of the United States (California), the southwesterly impinging angles of CWBARs are more orthogonal to the local topography. Furthermore, the southwest coast CWB-ARs have more intense IVT. Consequently, CWB-ARs are associated with the most intense precipitation. As a result, most of the extreme streamflows in southwest coastal basins are associated with CWB-ARs. In summary, depending on the associated RWB type, ARs impinge on the local topography at a different angle and have a different spatial signature of precipitation and streamflow.

Sanchez-Lorenzo, A, Enriquez-Alonso A, Calbo J, Gonzalez JA, Wild M, Folini D, Norris JR, Vicente-Serrano SM.  2017.  Fewer clouds in the Mediterranean: consistency of observations and climate simulations. Scientific Reports. 7   10.1038/srep41475   AbstractWebsite

Clouds play a major role in the climate system, but large uncertainties remain about their decadal variations. Here we report a widespread decrease in cloud cover since the 1970 s over the Mediterranean region, in particular during the 1970 s-1980 s, especially in the central and eastern areas and during springtime. Confidence in these findings is high due to the good agreement between the interannual variations of cloud cover provided by surface observations and several satellite-derived and reanalysis products, although some discrepancies exist in their trends. Climate model simulations of the historical experiment from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) also exhibit a decrease in cloud cover over the Mediterranean since the 1970 s, in agreement with surface observations, although the rate of decrease is slightly lower. The observed northward expansion of the Hadley cell is discussed as a possible cause of detected trends.

Lonsdale, CR, Hegarty JD, Cady-Pereira KE, Alvarado MJ, Henze DK, Turner MD, Capps SL, Nowak JB, Neuman A, Middlebrook AM, Bahreini R, Murphy JG, Markovic MZ, VandenBoer TC, Russell LM, Scarino AJ.  2017.  Modeling the diurnal variability of agricultural ammonia in Bakersfield, California, during the CalNex campaign. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 17:2721-2739.   10.5194/acp-17-2721-2017   AbstractWebsite

NH3 retrievals from the NASA Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES), as well as surface and aircraft observations of NH3(g) and submicron NH4(p), are used to evaluate modeled concentrations of NH3(g) and NH4(p) from the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) during the California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) campaign. We find that simulations of NH3 driven with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission inventory are qualitatively and spatially consistent with TES satellite observations, with a correlation coefficient (r(2)) of 0.64. However, the surface observations at Bakersfield indicate a diurnal cycle in the model bias, with CMAQ overestimating surface NH3 at night and underestimating it during the day. The surface, satellite, and aircraft observations all suggest that daytime NH3 emissions in the CARB inventory are underestimated by at least a factor of 2, while the nighttime overestimate of NH3(g) is likely due to a combination of overestimated NH3 emissions and underestimated deposition. Running CMAQ v5.0.2 with the bi-directional NH3 scheme reduces NH3 concentrations at night and increases them during the day. This reduces the model bias when compared to the surface and satellite observations, but the increased concentrations aloft significantly increase the bias relative to the aircraft observations. We attempt to further reduce model bias by using the surface observations at Bakers-field to derive an empirical diurnal cycle of NH3 emissions in the SJV, in which nighttime and midday emissions differ by about a factor of 4.5. Running CMAQv5.0.2 with a bi-directional NH3 scheme together with this emissions diurnal profile further reduces model bias relative to the surface observations. Comparison of these simulations with the vertical profile retrieved by TES shows little bias except for the lowest retrieved level, but the model bias relative to flight data aloft increases slightly. Our results indicate that both diurnally varying emissions and a bi-directional NH3 scheme should be applied when modeling NH3(g) and NH4(p) in this region. The remaining model errors suggest that the bi-directional NH3 scheme in CMAQ v5.0.2 needs further improvements to shift the peak NH3 land-atmosphere flux to earlier in the day. We recommend that future work include updates to the current CARB NH3 inventory to account for NH3 from fertilizer application, livestock, and other farming practices separately; adding revised information on crop management practices specific to the SJV region to the bi-directional NH3 scheme; and top-down studies focused on determining the diurnally varying biases in the canopy compensation point that determines the net land-atmosphere NH3 fluxes.

Brusca, RC, Alvarez-Borrego S, Hastings PA, Findley LT.  2017.  Colorado River flow and biological productivity in the Northern Gulf of California, Mexico. Earth-Science Reviews. 164:1-30.   10.1016/j.earscirev.2016.10.012   AbstractWebsite

A review of published research indicates that the Northern Gulf of California is, historically and currently, one of the most biologically productive marine regions on Earth. This high productivity is driven by a unique mix of factors, including: coastal upwelling, wind-driven mixing, extreme tidal mixing and turbulence, thermohaline circulation that moves intermediate waters into the mixed layer, coastal-trapped waves, regular sediment resuspension, and, to a lesser extent, agricultural runoff, released nutrients from erosion of ancient Colorado River Delta sediments, and perhaps input from decomposing tidal-flat plant debris. It has been suggested that decreased Colorado River flow, due to anthropogenic water impoundments and diversions, has had a negative impact on the health of the Northern Gulf of California ecosystem, particularly by reducing primary productivity and/or stock production of finfish and shellfish. However, there is no evidence that surface flow from the Colorado River is now, nor has ever been an important driver of primary productivity in the Northern Gulf, and nutrient/chlorophyll studies show no relationship to Colorado River flow (or, if anything, reduced nutrient/chlorophyll levels occur during high river-flow periods). And, there is very limited and equivocal evidence to support the claim that reduced river flow has significantly impacted secondary productivity in the Northern Gulf. The marine ecosystem of the Northern Gulf remains rich in nutrients, high in biodiversity and productivity, and appears to continue to be healthy, except for the impacts of historical and current fisheries. Human extraction of shrimp, Gulf corvina, totoaba (largely illegally), and other marine resources, remain very high in this region. There also is no evidence that reduced Colorado River flow has negatively impacted the health of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise, and assertions that it has done so deflect attention from the actual cause of decline-bycatch in legal and illegal gillnet fisheries. A review of Colorado River Delta research confirms that, historically and perhaps as long as the river has reached the Gulf of California, there have been long periods of no flow, or greatly reduced flow to the sea. Thus, the ecosystem is historically adapted to broadly fluctuating river flows and elevated salinities. Although commonly used by recent researchers, measurements of Colorado River water crossing the border into Mexico do not provide a reliable proxy for how much water (if any) actually reaches the Upper Gulf because of the complex nature of internal basins and diversions in the region. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

2016
Benmarhnia, T, Bailey Z, Kaiser D, Auger N, King N, Kaufman JS.  2016.  A Difference-in-Differences Approach to Assess the Effect of a Heat Action Plan on Heat-Related Mortality, and Differences in Effectiveness According to Sex, Age, and Socioeconomic Status (Montreal, Quebec). Environmental Health Perspectives. 124:1694-1699.   10.1289/EHP203   AbstractWebsite

BACKGROUND: The impact of heat waves on mortality and health inequalities is well documented. Very few studies have assessed the effectiveness of heat action plans (HAPs) on health, and none has used quasi-experimental methods to estimate causal effects of such programs.OBJECTIVES: We developed a quasi-experimental method to estimate the causal effects associated with HAPs that allows the identification of heterogeneity across subpopulations, and to apply this method specifically to the case of the Montreal (Quebec, Canada) HAP.METHODS: A difference-in-differences approach was undertaken using Montreal death registry data for the summers of 2000-2007 to assess the effectiveness of the Montreal HAP, implemented in 2004, on mortality. To study equity in the effect of HAP implementation, we assessed whether the program effects were heterogeneous across sex (male vs. female), age (>= 65 years vs. < 65 years), and neighborhood education levels (first vs. third tertile). We conducted sensitivity analyses to assess the validity of the estimated causal effect of the HAP program.RESULTS: We found evidence that the HAP contributed to reducing mortality on hot days, and that the mortality reduction attributable to the program was greater for elderly people and people living in low-education neighborhoods.CONCLUSION: These findings show promise for programs aimed at reducing the impact of extreme temperatures and health inequities. We propose a new quasi-experimental approach that can be easily applied to evaluate the impact of any program or intervention triggered when daily thresholds are reached.

Sanchez, SC, Charles CD, Carriquiry JD, Villaescusa JA.  2016.  Two centuries of coherent decadal climate variability across the Pacific North American region. Geophysical Research Letters. 43:9208-9216.   10.1002/2016gl069037   AbstractWebsite

The decadal variability of the Pacific Ocean and North American hydroclimate are subjects of immediate concern for society, yet the length of the instrumental record limits full mechanistic understanding of this variability. Here we introduce a 178year, seasonally resolved coral oxygen isotopic record from Clarion Island (18 degrees N, 115 degrees W), a sampling a subtropical region that is strongly influenced by the decadal-scale fluctuations of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation and a region that serves as a critical locus for the communication of climate anomalies with the tropics. This Mexican Pacific coral record is highly correlated to coral records from the central tropical Pacific and tree ring records from western North America. Significant changes in the amplitude of oceanic decadal variability in the early nineteenth century are mirrored in the drought reconstructions in western North America. The spatial manifestation of this relationship was relatively invariant, despite notable changes in the climatic mean state.

Mitchell, EK, Fialko Y, Brown KM.  2016.  Velocity-weakening behavior of Westerly granite at temperature up to 600 degrees C. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 121:6932-6946.   10.1002/2016jb013081   AbstractWebsite

The deep limit to seismicity in continental crust is believed to be controlled by a transition from velocity-weakening to velocity-strengthening friction based on experimental measurements of the rate dependence of friction at different temperatures. Available experimental data on granite suggest a transition to stable creep at about 350 degrees C (approximate to 15km depth). Here we present results from unconfined experiments on Westerly granite at both dry and hydrated conditions that show increasingly unstable slip (velocity-weakening behavior) at temperature up to 600 degrees C. A comparison of previously published experimental results with those presented in this study suggests that the rate and state friction parameters strongly depend on normal stress and pore pressure at high (>400 degrees C) temperature, which may help explain regional variations in the depth distribution of earthquakes in continental crust. Temperature dependence of the rate and state friction parameters may also contribute to strong dynamic weakening observed in high-speed friction experiments on crystalline rocks such as granite and gabbro.

Lundquist, JD, Roche JW, Forrester H, Moore C, Keenan E, Perry G, Cristea N, Henn B, Lapo K, McGurk B, Cayan DR, Dettinger MD.  2016.  Yosemite Hydroclimate Network: Distributed stream and atmospheric data for the Tuolumne River watershed and surroundings. Water Resources Research. 52:7478-7489.   10.1002/2016wr019261   AbstractWebsite

Regions of complex topography and remote wilderness terrain have spatially varying patterns of temperature and streamflow, but due to inherent difficulties of access, are often very poorly sampled. Here we present a data set of distributed stream stage, streamflow, stream temperature, barometric pressure, and air temperature from the Tuolumne River Watershed in Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California, USA, for water years 2002-2015, as well as a quality-controlled hourly meteorological forcing time series for use in hydrologic modeling. We also provide snow data and daily inflow to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir for 1970-2015. This paper describes data collected using low-visibility and low-impact installations for wilderness locations and can be used alone or as a critical supplement to ancillary data sets collected by cooperating agencies, referenced herein. This data set provides a unique opportunity to understand spatial patterns and scaling of hydroclimatic processes in complex terrain and can be used to evaluate downscaling techniques or distributed modeling. The paper also provides an example methodology and lessons learned in conducting hydroclimatic monitoring in remote wilderness.

Fewings, MR, Washburn L, Dorman CE, Gotschalk C, Lombardo K.  2016.  Synoptic forcing of wind relaxations at Pt. Conception, California. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 121:5711-5730.   10.1002/2016jc011699   AbstractWebsite

Over the California Current upwelling system in summer, the prevailing upwelling-favorable winds episodically weaken (relax) or reverse direction for a few days. Near Pt. Conception, California, the wind usually does not reverse, but wind relaxation allows poleward oceanic coastal flow with ecological consequences. To determine the offshore extent and synoptic forcing of these wind relaxations, we formed composite averages of wind stress from the QuikSCAT satellite and atmospheric pressure from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) using 67 wind relaxations during summer 2000-2009. Wind relaxations at Pt. Conception are the third stage of an event sequence that repeatedly affects the west coast of North America in summer. First, 5-7 days before the wind weakens near Pt. Conception, the wind weakens or reverses off Oregon and northern California. Second, the upwelling-favorable wind intensifies along central California. Third, the wind relaxes at Pt. Conception, and the area of weakened winds extends poleward to northern California over 3-5 days. The NARR underestimates the wind stress within similar to 200 km of coastal capes by a factor of 2. Wind relaxations at Pt. Conception are caused by offshore extension of the desert heat low. This synoptic forcing is related to event cycles that cause wind reversal as in Halliwell and Allen (1987) and Mass and Bond (1996), but includes weaker events. The wind relaxations extend similar to 600 km offshore, similarly to the California-scale hydraulic expansion fan shaping the prevailing winds, and similar to 1000 km alongshore, limited by an opposing pressure gradient force at Cape Mendocino.

Ralph, FM, Prather KA, Cayan D, Spackman JR, DeMott P, Dettinger M, Fairall C, Leung R, Rosenfeld D, Rutledge S, Waliser D, White AB, Cordeira J, Martin A, Helly J, Intrieri J.  2016.  CalWater field studies designed to quantify the roles of atmospheric rivers and aerosols in modulating US West Coast precipitation in a changing climate. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 97:1209-1228.   10.1175/bams-d-14-00043.1   AbstractWebsite

The variability of precipitation and water supply along the U.S. West Coast creates major challenges to the region’s economy and environment, as evidenced by the recent California drought. This variability is strongly influenced by atmospheric rivers (ARs), which deliver much of the precipitation along the U.S. West Coast and can cause flooding, and by aerosols (from local sources and transported from remote continents and oceans) that modulate clouds and precipitation. A better understanding of these processes is needed to reduce uncertainties in weather predictions and climate projections of droughts and floods, both now and under changing climate conditions.To address these gaps, a group of meteorologists, hydrologists, climate scientists, atmospheric chemists, and oceanographers have created an interdisciplinary research effort, with support from multiple agencies. From 2009 to 2011 a series of field campaigns [California Water Service (CalWater) 1] collected atmospheric chemistry, cloud microphysics, and meteorological measurements in California and associated modeling and diagnostic studies were carried out. Based on the remaining gaps, a vision was developed to extend these studies offshore over the eastern North Pacific and to enhance land-based measurements from 2014 to 2018 (CalWater-2). The dataset and selected results from CalWater-1 are summarized here. The goals of CalWater-2, and measurements to date, are then described.CalWater is producing new findings and exploring new technologies to evaluate and improve global climate models and their regional performance and to develop tools supporting water and hydropower management. These advances also have potential to enhance hazard mitigation by improving near-term weather prediction and subseasonal and seasonal outlooks.

Ralph, FM, Prather KA, Cayan D, Spackman JR, DeMott P, Dettinger M, Fairall C, Leung R, Rosenfeld D, Rutledge S, Waliser D, White AB, Cordeira J, Martin A, Helly J, Intrieri J.  2016.  CalWater field studies designed to quantify the roles of atmospheric rivers and aerosols in modulating US West Coast precipitation in a changing climate. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 97:1209-1228.   10.1175/bams-d-14-00043.1   AbstractWebsite

The variability of precipitation and water supply along the U.S. West Coast creates major challenges to the region’s economy and environment, as evidenced by the recent California drought. This variability is strongly influenced by atmospheric rivers (ARs), which deliver much of the precipitation along the U.S. West Coast and can cause flooding, and by aerosols (from local sources and transported from remote continents and oceans) that modulate clouds and precipitation. A better understanding of these processes is needed to reduce uncertainties in weather predictions and climate projections of droughts and floods, both now and under changing climate conditions.To address these gaps, a group of meteorologists, hydrologists, climate scientists, atmospheric chemists, and oceanographers have created an interdisciplinary research effort, with support from multiple agencies. From 2009 to 2011 a series of field campaigns [California Water Service (CalWater) 1] collected atmospheric chemistry, cloud microphysics, and meteorological measurements in California and associated modeling and diagnostic studies were carried out. Based on the remaining gaps, a vision was developed to extend these studies offshore over the eastern North Pacific and to enhance land-based measurements from 2014 to 2018 (CalWater-2). The dataset and selected results from CalWater-1 are summarized here. The goals of CalWater-2, and measurements to date, are then described.CalWater is producing new findings and exploring new technologies to evaluate and improve global climate models and their regional performance and to develop tools supporting water and hydropower management. These advances also have potential to enhance hazard mitigation by improving near-term weather prediction and subseasonal and seasonal outlooks.

Ralph, FM, Prather KA, Cayan D, Spackman JR, DeMott P, Dettinger M, Fairall C, Leung R, Rosenfeld D, Rutledge S, Waliser D, White AB, Cordeira J, Martin A, Helly J, Intrieri J.  2016.  CalWater field studies designed to quantify the roles of atmospheric rivers and aerosols in modulating US West Coast precipitation in a changing climate. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 97:1209-1228.   10.1175/bams-d-14-00043.1   AbstractWebsite

The variability of precipitation and water supply along the U.S. West Coast creates major challenges to the region’s economy and environment, as evidenced by the recent California drought. This variability is strongly influenced by atmospheric rivers (ARs), which deliver much of the precipitation along the U.S. West Coast and can cause flooding, and by aerosols (from local sources and transported from remote continents and oceans) that modulate clouds and precipitation. A better understanding of these processes is needed to reduce uncertainties in weather predictions and climate projections of droughts and floods, both now and under changing climate conditions.To address these gaps, a group of meteorologists, hydrologists, climate scientists, atmospheric chemists, and oceanographers have created an interdisciplinary research effort, with support from multiple agencies. From 2009 to 2011 a series of field campaigns [California Water Service (CalWater) 1] collected atmospheric chemistry, cloud microphysics, and meteorological measurements in California and associated modeling and diagnostic studies were carried out. Based on the remaining gaps, a vision was developed to extend these studies offshore over the eastern North Pacific and to enhance land-based measurements from 2014 to 2018 (CalWater-2). The dataset and selected results from CalWater-1 are summarized here. The goals of CalWater-2, and measurements to date, are then described.CalWater is producing new findings and exploring new technologies to evaluate and improve global climate models and their regional performance and to develop tools supporting water and hydropower management. These advances also have potential to enhance hazard mitigation by improving near-term weather prediction and subseasonal and seasonal outlooks.

Merrifield, AL, Xie SP.  2016.  Summer US surface air temperature variability: controlling factors and AMIP simulation biases. Journal of Climate. 29:5123-5139.   10.1175/jcli-d-15-0705.1   AbstractWebsite

This study documents and investigates biases in simulating summer surface air temperature (SAT) variability over the continental United States in the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) experiment from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) and multivariate regression analyses are used to assess the relative importance of circulation and the land surface feedback at setting summer SAT over a 30-yr period (1979-2008). Regions of high SAT variability are closely associated with midtropospheric highs, subsidence, and radiative heating accompanying clear-sky conditions. The land surface exerts a spatially variable influence on SAT through the sensible heat flux and is a second-order effect in the high-variability centers of action (COAs) in observational estimates. The majority of the AMIP models feature high SAT variability over the central United States, displaced south and/or west of observed COAs. SAT COAs in models tend to be concomitant and strongly coupled with regions of high sensible heat flux variability, suggesting that excessive land-atmosphere interaction in these models modulates U.S. summer SAT. In the central United States, models with climatological warm biases also feature less evapotranspiration than ERA-Interim but reasonably reproduce observed SAT variability in the region. Models that overestimate SAT variability tend to reproduce ERA-Interim SAT and evapotranspiration climatology. In light of potential model biases, this analysis calls for careful evaluation of the land-atmosphere interaction hot spot region identified in the central United States. Additionally, tropical sea surface temperatures play a role in forcing the leading EOF mode for summer SAT in models. This relationship is not apparent in observations.

Grotjahn, R, Black R, Leung R, Wehner MF, Barlow M, Bosilovich M, Gershunov A, Gutowski WJ, Gyakum JR, Katz RW, Lee YY, Lim YK, Prabhat.  2016.  North American extreme temperature events and related large scale meteorological patterns: a review of statistical methods, dynamics, modeling, and trends. Climate Dynamics. 46:1151-1184.   10.1007/s00382-015-2638-6   AbstractWebsite

The objective of this paper is to review statistical methods, dynamics, modeling efforts, and trends related to temperature extremes, with a focus upon extreme events of short duration that affect parts of North America. These events are associated with large scale meteorological patterns (LSMPs). The statistics, dynamics, and modeling sections of this paper are written to be autonomous and so can be read separately. Methods to define extreme events statistics and to identify and connect LSMPs to extreme temperature events are presented. Recent advances in statistical techniques connect LSMPs to extreme temperatures through appropriately defined covariates that supplement more straightforward analyses. Various LSMPs, ranging from synoptic to planetary scale structures, are associated with extreme temperature events. Current knowledge about the synoptics and the dynamical mechanisms leading to the associated LSMPs is incomplete. Systematic studies of: the physics of LSMP life cycles, comprehensive model assessment of LSMP-extreme temperature event linkages, and LSMP properties are needed. Generally, climate models capture observed properties of heat waves and cold air outbreaks with some fidelity. However they overestimate warm wave frequency and underestimate cold air outbreak frequency, and underestimate the collective influence of low-frequency modes on temperature extremes. Modeling studies have identified the impact of large-scale circulation anomalies and land-atmosphere interactions on changes in extreme temperatures. However, few studies have examined changes in LSMPs to more specifically understand the role of LSMPs on past and future extreme temperature changes. Even though LSMPs are resolvable by global and regional climate models, they are not necessarily well simulated. The paper concludes with unresolved issues and research questions.

2015
Dettinger, M, Udall B, Georgakakos A.  2015.  Western water and climate change. Ecological Applications. 25:2069-2093. AbstractWebsite

The western United States is a region long defined by water challenges. Climate change adds to those historical challenges, but does not, for the most part, introduce entirely new challenges; rather climate change is likely to stress water supplies and resources already in many cases stretched to, or beyond, natural limits. Projections are for continued and, likely, increased warming trends across the region, with a near certainty of continuing changes in seasonality of snowmelt and streamflows, and a strong potential for attendant increases in evaporative demands. Projections of future precipitation are less conclusive, although likely the northernmost West will see precipitation increases while the southernmost West sees declines. However, most of the region lies in a broad area where some climate models project precipitation increases while others project declines, so that only increases in precipitation uncertainties can be projected with any confidence. Changes in annual and seasonal hydrographs are likely to challenge water managers, users, and attempts to protect or restore environmental flows, even where annual volumes change little. Other impacts from climate change (e.g., floods and water-quality changes) are poorly understood and will likely be location dependent. In this context, four iconic river basins offer glimpses into specific challenges that climate change may bring to the West. The Colorado River is a system in which overuse and growing demands are projected to be even more challenging than climate-change-induced flow reductions. The Rio Grande offers the best example of how climate-change-induced flow declines might sink a major system into permanent drought. The Klamath is currently projected to face the more benign precipitation future, but fisheries and irrigation management may face dire straits due to warming air temperatures, rising irrigation demands, and warming waters in a basin already hobbled by tensions between endangered fisheries and agricultural demands. Finally, California's Bay-Delta system is a remarkably localized and severe weakness at the heart of the region's trillion-dollar economy. It is threatened by the full range of potential climate-change impacts expected across the West, along with major vulnerabilities to increased flooding and rising sea levels.

Rose, KA, Fiechter J, Curchitser EN, Hedstrom K, Bernal M, Creekmore S, Haynie A, Ito S, Lluch-Cota S, Megrey BA, Edwards CA, Checkley D, Koslow T, McClatchie S, Werner F, MacCall A, Agostini V.  2015.  Demonstration of a fully-coupled end-to-end model for small pelagic fish using sardine and anchovy in the California Current. Progress in Oceanography. 138:348-380.   10.1016/j.pocean.2015.01.012   AbstractWebsite

We describe and document an end-to-end model of anchovy and sardine population dynamics in the California Current as a proof of principle that such coupled models can be developed and implemented. The end-to-end model is 3-dimensional, time-varying, and multispecies, and consists of four coupled sub-models: hydrodynamics, Eulerian nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton (NPZ), an individual-based full life cycle anchovy and sardine submodel, and an agent-based fishing fleet submodel. A predator roughly mimicking albacore was included as individuals that consumed anchovy and sardine. All submodels were coded within the ROMS open-source community model, and used the same resolution spatial grid and were all solved simultaneously to allow for possible feedbacks among the submodels. We used a super-individual approach and solved the coupled models on a distributed memory parallel computer, both of which created challenging but resolvable bookkeeping challenges. The anchovy and sardine growth, mortality, reproduction, and movement, and the fishing fleet submodel, were each calibrated using simplified grids before being inserted into the full end-to-end model. An historical simulation of 1959-2008 was performed, and the latter 45 years analyzed. Sea surface height (SSH) and sea surface temperature (SST) for the historical simulation showed strong horizontal gradients and multi-year scale temporal oscillations related to various climate indices (PDO, NPGO), and both showed responses to ENSO variability. Simulated total phytoplankton was lower during strong El Nino events and higher for the strong 1999 La Nina event. The three zooplankton groups generally corresponded to the spatial and temporal variation in simulated total phytoplankton. Simulated biomasses of anchovy and sardine were within the historical range of observed biomasses but predicted biomasses showed much less inter-annual variation. Anomalies of annual biomasses of anchovy and sardine showed a switch in the mid-1990s from anchovy to sardine dominance. Simulated averaged weights- and lengths-at-age did not vary much across decades, and movement patterns showed anchovy located close to the coast while sardine were more dispersed and farther offshore. Albacore predation on anchovy and sardine was concentrated near the coast in two pockets near the Monterey Bay area and equatorward of Cape Mendocino. Predation mortality from fishing boats was concentrated where sardine age-1 and older individuals were located close to one of the five ports. We demonstrated that it is feasible to perform multi-decadal simulations of a fully-coupled end-to-end model, and that this can be done for a model that follows individual fish and boats on the same 3-dimensional grid as the hydrodynamics. Our focus here was on proof of principle and our results showed that we solved the major technical, bookkeeping, and computational issues. We discuss the next steps to increase computational speed and to include important biological differences between anchovy and sardine. In a companion paper (Fiechter et al., 2015), we further analyze the historical simulation in the context of the various hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the sardine and anchovy cycles. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rose, KA, Fiechter J, Curchitser EN, Hedstrom K, Bernal M, Creekmore S, Haynie A, Ito S, Lluch-Cota S, Megrey BA, Edwards CA, Checkley D, Koslow T, McClatchie S, Werner F, MacCall A, Agostini V.  2015.  Demonstration of a fully-coupled end-to-end model for small pelagic fish using sardine and anchovy in the California Current. Progress in Oceanography. 138:348-380.   10.1016/j.pocean.2015.01.012   AbstractWebsite

We describe and document an end-to-end model of anchovy and sardine population dynamics in the California Current as a proof of principle that such coupled models can be developed and implemented. The end-to-end model is 3-dimensional, time-varying, and multispecies, and consists of four coupled sub-models: hydrodynamics, Eulerian nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton (NPZ), an individual-based full life cycle anchovy and sardine submodel, and an agent-based fishing fleet submodel. A predator roughly mimicking albacore was included as individuals that consumed anchovy and sardine. All submodels were coded within the ROMS open-source community model, and used the same resolution spatial grid and were all solved simultaneously to allow for possible feedbacks among the submodels. We used a super-individual approach and solved the coupled models on a distributed memory parallel computer, both of which created challenging but resolvable bookkeeping challenges. The anchovy and sardine growth, mortality, reproduction, and movement, and the fishing fleet submodel, were each calibrated using simplified grids before being inserted into the full end-to-end model. An historical simulation of 1959-2008 was performed, and the latter 45 years analyzed. Sea surface height (SSH) and sea surface temperature (SST) for the historical simulation showed strong horizontal gradients and multi-year scale temporal oscillations related to various climate indices (PDO, NPGO), and both showed responses to ENSO variability. Simulated total phytoplankton was lower during strong El Nino events and higher for the strong 1999 La Nina event. The three zooplankton groups generally corresponded to the spatial and temporal variation in simulated total phytoplankton. Simulated biomasses of anchovy and sardine were within the historical range of observed biomasses but predicted biomasses showed much less inter-annual variation. Anomalies of annual biomasses of anchovy and sardine showed a switch in the mid-1990s from anchovy to sardine dominance. Simulated averaged weights- and lengths-at-age did not vary much across decades, and movement patterns showed anchovy located close to the coast while sardine were more dispersed and farther offshore. Albacore predation on anchovy and sardine was concentrated near the coast in two pockets near the Monterey Bay area and equatorward of Cape Mendocino. Predation mortality from fishing boats was concentrated where sardine age-1 and older individuals were located close to one of the five ports. We demonstrated that it is feasible to perform multi-decadal simulations of a fully-coupled end-to-end model, and that this can be done for a model that follows individual fish and boats on the same 3-dimensional grid as the hydrodynamics. Our focus here was on proof of principle and our results showed that we solved the major technical, bookkeeping, and computational issues. We discuss the next steps to increase computational speed and to include important biological differences between anchovy and sardine. In a companion paper (Fiechter et al., 2015), we further analyze the historical simulation in the context of the various hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the sardine and anchovy cycles. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rose, KA, Fiechter J, Curchitser EN, Hedstrom K, Bernal M, Creekmore S, Haynie A, Ito S, Lluch-Cota S, Megrey BA, Edwards CA, Checkley D, Koslow T, McClatchie S, Werner F, MacCall A, Agostini V.  2015.  Demonstration of a fully-coupled end-to-end model for small pelagic fish using sardine and anchovy in the California Current. Progress in Oceanography. 138:348-380.   10.1016/j.pocean.2015.01.012   AbstractWebsite

We describe and document an end-to-end model of anchovy and sardine population dynamics in the California Current as a proof of principle that such coupled models can be developed and implemented. The end-to-end model is 3-dimensional, time-varying, and multispecies, and consists of four coupled sub-models: hydrodynamics, Eulerian nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton (NPZ), an individual-based full life cycle anchovy and sardine submodel, and an agent-based fishing fleet submodel. A predator roughly mimicking albacore was included as individuals that consumed anchovy and sardine. All submodels were coded within the ROMS open-source community model, and used the same resolution spatial grid and were all solved simultaneously to allow for possible feedbacks among the submodels. We used a super-individual approach and solved the coupled models on a distributed memory parallel computer, both of which created challenging but resolvable bookkeeping challenges. The anchovy and sardine growth, mortality, reproduction, and movement, and the fishing fleet submodel, were each calibrated using simplified grids before being inserted into the full end-to-end model. An historical simulation of 1959-2008 was performed, and the latter 45 years analyzed. Sea surface height (SSH) and sea surface temperature (SST) for the historical simulation showed strong horizontal gradients and multi-year scale temporal oscillations related to various climate indices (PDO, NPGO), and both showed responses to ENSO variability. Simulated total phytoplankton was lower during strong El Nino events and higher for the strong 1999 La Nina event. The three zooplankton groups generally corresponded to the spatial and temporal variation in simulated total phytoplankton. Simulated biomasses of anchovy and sardine were within the historical range of observed biomasses but predicted biomasses showed much less inter-annual variation. Anomalies of annual biomasses of anchovy and sardine showed a switch in the mid-1990s from anchovy to sardine dominance. Simulated averaged weights- and lengths-at-age did not vary much across decades, and movement patterns showed anchovy located close to the coast while sardine were more dispersed and farther offshore. Albacore predation on anchovy and sardine was concentrated near the coast in two pockets near the Monterey Bay area and equatorward of Cape Mendocino. Predation mortality from fishing boats was concentrated where sardine age-1 and older individuals were located close to one of the five ports. We demonstrated that it is feasible to perform multi-decadal simulations of a fully-coupled end-to-end model, and that this can be done for a model that follows individual fish and boats on the same 3-dimensional grid as the hydrodynamics. Our focus here was on proof of principle and our results showed that we solved the major technical, bookkeeping, and computational issues. We discuss the next steps to increase computational speed and to include important biological differences between anchovy and sardine. In a companion paper (Fiechter et al., 2015), we further analyze the historical simulation in the context of the various hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the sardine and anchovy cycles. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Askarizadeh, A, Rippy MA, Fletcher TD, Feldman DL, Peng J, Bowler P, Mehring AS, Winfrey BK, Vrugt JA, AghaKouchak A, Jiang SC, Sanders BF, Levin LA, Taylor S, Grant SB.  2015.  From rain tanks to catchments: Use of low-impact development to address hydrologic symptoms of the urban stream syndrome. Environmental Science & Technology. 49:11264-11280.   10.1021/acs.est.5b01635   AbstractWebsite

Catchment urbanization perturbs the water and sediment budgets of streams, degrades stream health and function, and causes a constellation of flow, water quality, and ecological symptoms collectively known as the urban stream syndrome. Low-impact development (LID) technologies address the hydrologic symptoms of the urban stream syndrome by mimicking natural flow paths and restoring a natural water balance. Over annual time scales, the volumes of stormwater that should be infiltrated and harvested can be estimated from a catchment-scale water-balance given local climate conditions and preurban land cover. For all but the wettest regions of the world, a much larger volume of stormwater runoff should be harvested than infiltrated to maintain stream hydrology in a preurban state. Efforts to prevent or reverse hydrologic symptoms associated with the urban stream syndrome will therefore require: (1) selecting the right mix of LID technologies that provide regionally tailored ratios of stormwater harvesting and infiltration; (2) integrating these LID technologies into next-generation drainage systems; (3) maximizing potential cobenefits including water supply augmentation, flood protection, improved water quality, and urban amenities; and (4) long-term hydrologic monitoring to evaluate the efficacy of LID interventions.

Becker, TW, Lowry AR, Faccenna C, Schmandt B, Borsa A, Yu CQ.  2015.  Western US intermountain seismicity caused by changes in upper mantle flow. Nature. 524:458-+.   10.1038/nature14867   AbstractWebsite

Understanding the causes of intraplate earthquakes is challenging, as it requires extending plate tectonic theory to the dynamics of continental deformation. Seismicity in the western United States away from the plate boundary is clustered along a meandering, north-south trending 'intermountain' belt(1). This zone coincides with a transition from thin, actively deforming to thicker, less tectonically active crust and lithosphere. Although such structural gradients have been invoked to explain seismicity localization(2,3), the underlying cause of seismicity remains unclear. Here we show results fromimproved mantle flowmodels that reveal a relationship between seismicity and the rate change of 'dynamic topography' (that is, vertical normal stress from mantle flow). The associated predictive skill is greater than that of any of the other forcings we examined. Wesuggest that active mantle flow is amajor contributor to seismogenic intraplate deformation, while gravitational potential energy variations have a minor role. Seismicity localization should occur where convective changes in vertical normal stress are modulated by lithospheric strength heterogeneities. Our results on deformation processes appear consistent with findings from other mobile belts(4), and imply that mantle flow plays a significant and quantifiable part in shaping topography, tectonics, and seismic hazard within intraplate settings.

Creamean, JM, Ault AP, White AB, Neiman PJ, Ralph FM, Minnis P, Prather KA.  2015.  Impact of interannual variations in sources of insoluble aerosol species on orographic precipitation over California's central Sierra Nevada. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 15:6535-6548.   10.5194/acp-15-6535-2015   AbstractWebsite

Aerosols that serve as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nuclei (IN) have the potential to profoundly influence precipitation processes. Furthermore, changes in orographic precipitation have broad implications for reservoir storage and flood risks. As part of the CalWater field campaign (2009-2011), the variability and associated impacts of different aerosol sources on precipitation were investigated in the California Sierra Nevada using an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer for precipitation chemistry, S-band profiling radar for precipitation classification, remote sensing measurements of cloud properties, and surface meteorological measurements. The composition of insoluble residues in precipitation samples collected at a surface site contained mostly local biomass burning and longrange- transported dust and biological particles (2009), local sources of biomass burning and pollution (2010), and longrange transport (2011). Although differences in the sources of insoluble residues were observed from year to year, the most consistent source of dust and biological residues were associated with storms consisting of deep convective cloud systems with significant quantities of precipitation initiated in the ice phase. Further, biological residues were dominant (up to 40 %) during storms with relatively warm cloud temperatures (up to -15 degrees C), supporting the important role bioparticles can play as ice nucleating particles. On the other hand, lower percentages of residues from local biomass burning and pollution were observed over the three winter seasons (on average 31 and 9 %, respectively). When precipitation quantities were relatively low, these insoluble residues most likely served as CCN, forming smaller more numerous cloud droplets at the base of shallow cloud systems, and resulting in less efficient riming processes. Ultimately, the goal is to use such observations to improve the mechanistic linkages between aerosol sources and precipitation processes to produce more accurate predictive weather forecast models and improve water resource management.

Creamean, JM, Ault AP, White AB, Neiman PJ, Ralph FM, Minnis P, Prather KA.  2015.  Impact of interannual variations in sources of insoluble aerosol species on orographic precipitation over California's central Sierra Nevada. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 15:6535-6548.   10.5194/acp-15-6535-2015   AbstractWebsite

Aerosols that serve as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nuclei (IN) have the potential to profoundly influence precipitation processes. Furthermore, changes in orographic precipitation have broad implications for reservoir storage and flood risks. As part of the CalWater field campaign (2009-2011), the variability and associated impacts of different aerosol sources on precipitation were investigated in the California Sierra Nevada using an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer for precipitation chemistry, S-band profiling radar for precipitation classification, remote sensing measurements of cloud properties, and surface meteorological measurements. The composition of insoluble residues in precipitation samples collected at a surface site contained mostly local biomass burning and longrange- transported dust and biological particles (2009), local sources of biomass burning and pollution (2010), and longrange transport (2011). Although differences in the sources of insoluble residues were observed from year to year, the most consistent source of dust and biological residues were associated with storms consisting of deep convective cloud systems with significant quantities of precipitation initiated in the ice phase. Further, biological residues were dominant (up to 40 %) during storms with relatively warm cloud temperatures (up to -15 degrees C), supporting the important role bioparticles can play as ice nucleating particles. On the other hand, lower percentages of residues from local biomass burning and pollution were observed over the three winter seasons (on average 31 and 9 %, respectively). When precipitation quantities were relatively low, these insoluble residues most likely served as CCN, forming smaller more numerous cloud droplets at the base of shallow cloud systems, and resulting in less efficient riming processes. Ultimately, the goal is to use such observations to improve the mechanistic linkages between aerosol sources and precipitation processes to produce more accurate predictive weather forecast models and improve water resource management.

Rutz, JJ, Steenburgh WJ, Ralph FM.  2015.  The inland penetration of atmospheric rivers over Western North America: A Lagrangian analysis. Monthly Weather Review. 143:1924-1944.   10.1175/mwr-d-14-00288.1   AbstractWebsite

Although atmospheric rivers (ARs) typically weaken following landfall, those that penetrate inland can contribute to heavy precipitation and high-impact weather within the interior of western North America. In this paper, the authors examine the evolution of ARs over western North America using trajectories released at 950 and 700 hPa within cool-season ARs along the Pacific coast. These trajectories are classified as coastal decaying, inland penetrating, or interior penetrating based on whether they remain within an AR upon reaching selected transects over western North America. Interior-penetrating AR trajectories most frequently make landfall along the Oregon coast, but the greatest fraction of landfalling AR trajectories that eventually penetrate into the interior within an AR is found along the Baja Peninsula. In contrast, interior-penetrating AR trajectories rarely traverse the southern "high'' Sierra. At landfall, interior-penetrating AR trajectories are associated with a more amplified flow pattern, more southwesterly (vs westerly) flow along the Pacific coast, and larger water vapor transport (qv). The larger initial qv of interior-penetrating AR trajectories is due primarily to larger initial water vapor q and wind speed v for those initiated at 950 and 700 hPa, respectively. Inland- and interior-penetrating AR trajectories maintain large qv over the interior partially due to increases in v that offset decreases in q, particularly in the vicinity of topographical barriers. Therefore, synoptic conditions and trajectory pathways favoring larger initial qv at the coast, limited water vapor depletion by orographic precipitation, and increases in v over the interior are keys to differentiating interior-penetrating from coastal-decaying ARs.

Cavanaugh, NR, Gershunov A, Panorska AK, Kozubowski TJ.  2015.  The probability distribution of intense daily precipitation. Geophysical Research Letters. 42:1560-1567.   10.1002/2015gl063238   AbstractWebsite

The probability tail structure of over 22,000 weather stations globally is examined in order to identify the physically and mathematically consistent distribution type for modeling the probability of intense daily precipitation and extremes. Results indicate that when aggregating data annually, most locations are to be considered heavy tailed with statistical significance. When aggregating data by season, it becomes evident that the thickness of the probability tail is related to the variability in precipitation causing events and thus that the fundamental cause of precipitation volatility is weather diversity. These results have both theoretical and practical implications for the modeling of high-frequency climate variability worldwide.