climate variability

Regional Climate Model Projections for the State of Washington

Source: 
Climate Impacts Group
Volume: 
1
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

Global climate models do not have sufficient spatial resolution to represent the atmospheric and land surface processes that determine the unique regional heterogeneity of the climate of the State of Washington. If future large-scale weather patterns interact differently with the local terrain and coastlines than current weather patterns, local changes in temperature and precipitation could be quite different from the coarse-scale changes projected by global models. Regional climate models explicitly simulate the interactions between the large-scale weather patterns simulated by a global model and the local terrain. We have performed two 100-year climate simulations using the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). One simulation is forced by the NCAR Community Climate System Model version 3 (CCSM3) and the second is forced by a simulation of the Max Plank Institute, Hamburg, global model(ECHAM5). The mesoscale simulations produce regional changes in snow cover, cloudiness, and circulation patterns associated with interactions between the large-scale climate change and the regional topography and land-water contrasts. These changes substantially alter the temperature and precipitation trends over the region relative to the global model result or statistical down scaling. To illustrate this effect, we analyze the changes from the current climate (1970-1999) to the mid 21st century (2030-2059). Changes in seasonal-mean temperature, precipitation, and snowpack are presented. Several climatological indices of extreme daily weather are also presented: precipitation intensity, fraction of precipitation occurring in extreme daily events, heat wave frequency, growing season length, and frequency of warm nights. Despite somewhat different changes in seasonal precipitation and temperature from the two regional simulations, consistent results for changes in snowpack and extreme precipitation are found in both simulations. 

Author(s): 

Eric P Salathe Jr, L Ruby Leung, Yun Qian, and Yongxin Zhang 

Contact: 
Notes: 
Category: 

Reconstructed Streamflows for the Headwaters of the Wind River, Wyoming, United States

Source: 
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume: 
45-1
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

Tree rings offer a means to extend observational records of streamflow by hundreds of years, but dendrohydrological techniques are not regularly applied to small tributary and headwaters gages. Here we explore the potential for extending three such gage records on small streams in the Wind River drainage of central Wyoming, United States. Using core samples taken from Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), pin˜ on pine (Pinus edulis), and limber pine (Pinus flexilis) at 38 sites, we were able to reconstruct streamflows for the headwaters of the Wind River back to 1672 AD or earlier. The streamflow reconstructions for Bull Lake Creek above Bull Lake; the Little Popo Agie River near Lander, Wyoming; and Wind River near Dubois, Wyoming explained between 40% and 64% of the observed variance, and these extended records performed well in a variety of statistical verification tests. The full reconstructions show pronounced inter-annual variability in streamflow, and these proxy records also point to the prevalence of severe, sustained droughts in this region.These reconstructions indicate that the 20th Century was relatively wet compared to previous centuries, and actual gage records may capture only a limited subset of potential natural variability in this area. Further analyses reveal how tree-ring based reconstructions for small tributary and headwaters gages can be strongly influenced by the length and quality of calibration records, but this work also demonstrates how the use of a spatially extensive network of tree-ring sites can improve the quality of these types of reconstructions.

Author(s): 

Thomas A. Watson, F. Anthony Barnett, Stephen T. Gray, and Glenn A. Tootle

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