The boundary that separates the humid East US from the semi-arid West is shifting eastward

The 100th meridian bisects the Great Plains of the United States and effectively divides the continent into more arid western and less arid eastern halves and is well expressed in terms of vegetation, land hydrology, crops, and the farm economy. Here, it is considered how this arid–humid divide will change in intensity and location during... Continue Reading →

Explaining extreme events from a climate perspective

This special report of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) presents some extreme events in 2016, such as the record global heat, the heat across Asia, the 2015-16 El Niño and a marine heat wave off the coast of Alaska, and discusses how human-caused climate change may have affected the strength and likelihood of these extreme events.... Continue Reading →

On the fragile relationship between El Niño and California rainfall

This study newly accepted in Geophysical Research Letters examined why California experienced extremely wet winter and spring conditions during the 1997-98 and 1982-83 El Niños, but near normal rainfall during the extremely strong 2015-16 El Niño. Statistical data analyses and simple model experiments were used to show that sufficiently warm and persistent sea surface temperature anomalies... Continue Reading →

El Niño-like teleconnection increases California precipitation in response to warming

Future California (CA) precipitation projections, including those from the most recent Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), remain uncertain. This uncertainty is related to several factors, including relatively large internal climate variability, model shortcomings, and because CA lies within a transition zone, where mid-latitude regions are expected to become wetter and subtropical regions drier. Here, we... Continue Reading →

Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall

From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential... Continue Reading →

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