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Browse publications gathered by the California Energy Commission that focus on climate change issues relevant to the State of California. Find both PIER research papers as well as relevant articles published in peer reviewed journals.

Publications Published in 1996

  1. El nino-like climate change in a model with increased atmospheric co2 concentrations. Meehl, G. A. & Washington, W. M..
    Nature: 1996
    Notes
    Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean increased on average by serveral tenths of a degree during the 1980s and early 1990s1-4, contributing to the observed global warming during this period5, Here we investigate the possible causes of this Pacific warming, using a global coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model incorporating increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, In the model, cloud cover and cloud albedo feedbacks contribute to tropical Pacific sea surface temperature increases that are greater east of 180 degrees longitude, with attendant shifts in large- scale precipitation patterns and mid-latitude circulation anomalies in the north Pacific, These anomalies resemble some aspects of El Nino events, as well as features associated with recent observed Pacific-region climate anomalies. The resemblance to El Nino complicates the problem of detection and attribution of climate change, and suggests that depletion of freshwater resources6 may be an additional hazard of greenhouse warming for populations in the western Pacific region.


  2. Increased coastal upwelling in the California Current System. Schwing, Franklin B & Mendelssohn, Roy.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres: 1996
    Notes
    State-space statistical models are applied to long environmental time series of monthly northward wind stress, sea surface temperature (SST), coastal salinity (SSS) and coastal sea level (SL) from the west coast of North America. The models use a combination of Kalman filtering and maximum likelihood methods to estimate a non-linear trend, a non- stationary and non- deterministic seasonal signal, and an autoregressive term. The seasonal series are examined for behavior consistent with increasing coastal upwelling during the spring-summer upwelling ``season'', presumably in response to a pattern of long-term global warming. Over a region of the California Current System (CCS) where coastal upwelling is a dominant process (32-40N), wind stress, SST, SSS and SL all show strong evidence of a systematic intensification of upwelling during April-July. Model trend series suggest a linear tendency for increasing equatorward stress (in agreement with the seasonal tendency), but warmer SST (opposite the seasonal and the expectation of greater upwelling). The linear tendencies of the SST and stress trends are generally an order of magnitude greater than in the seasonal tendencies. Thus the long-term trend in SST masks the cooling effect of increased seasonal upwelling, and the trend in equatorward stress suggests an artificially large seasonal increase in the observed spring and summer stress. A key to identifying these patterns has been the ability to separate the long- term non-linear trends, using the state-space models, which mask the signal of increased upwelling in the observations.


  3. Interdecadal variation in U.S. pacific coast precipitation over the past four decades. Chen, Tsing-Chang; Chen, Jau-Ming & Wikle, Christopher K.
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 1996
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0477(1996)077<1197:IVIUPC>2.0.CO;2
    DOI: 10.1175/1520-0477(1996)077<1197:IVIUPC>2.0.CO;2
    Notes
    The interdecadal variation of precipitation along the U.S. Pacific coast over the past 45 winters (1950-94) was examined with station observations. An interdecadal decreasing (minor increasing) trend appeared north (south) of 36°N. This interdecadal trend in precipitation is related to the development of an anomalous dipole structure (a major anomalous high centered over the Pacific coast at British Columbia and a minor anomalous low centered over northern Baja California) throughout the past several decades. The correlation coefficient patterns between the Pacific coast precipitation and upper-air geopotential heights, and the difference charts of upper-air geopotential heights between the first (1950-59) and last (1985-94) 10 winters revealed that the interdecadal variation of the western U.S. circulation is a part of that in the Northern Hemisphere wintertime circulation. In turn, the interdecadal variation of the Pacific coast precipitation is a consequence of the interdecadal variation of the Northern Hemisphere wintertime circulation.


  4. Interdecadal Variation in U.S. Pacific Coast Precipitation over the Past Four Decades. Tsing-Chang, Chen; Jau-Ming, Chen & Wikle, Christopher K.
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 1996
    Notes
    The interdecadal variation of precipitation along the U.S. Pacific coast over the past 45 winters (1950-94) was examined with station observations. An interdecadal decreasing (minor increasing) trend appeared north (south) of 36°N. This interdecadal trend in precipitation is related to the development of an anomalous dipole structure (a major anomalous high centered over the Pacific coast at British Columbia and a minor anomalous low centered over northern Baja California) throughout the past several decades. The correlation coefficient patterns between the Pacific coast precipitation and upper-air geopotential heights, and the difference charts of upper-air geopotential heights between the first (1950-59) and last (1985-94) 10 winters revealed that the interdecadal variation of the western U.S. circulation is a part of that in the Northern Hemisphere wintertime circulation. In turn, the interdecadal variation of the Pacific coast precipitation is a consequence of the interdecadal variation of the Northern Hemisphere wintertime circulation.


  5. Model estimates of nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural lands in the United States. Li, Changsheng; Narayanan, Vijay & Harriss, Robert C.
    Global Biogeochemical Cycles: 1996

  6. Numerical Prediction of Precipitation and River Flow over the Russian River Watershed during the January 1995 California Storms. Miller, Norman L. & Kim, Jinwon.
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 1996
    Notes
    Precipitation and river flow during a January 1995 flood event over the Russian River watershed in the northern Coastal Range of California were simulated using the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Coupled Atmosphere-River Flow Simulation (CARS) System. The CARS System undirectionally links a primitive equation atmospheric mesoscale model to a physically based, fully distributed hydrologic model by employing an automated land analysis system. Using twice-daily National Meteorological Center eta model initial data to provide the large-scale forcing to the mesoscale model, the CARS System has closely simulated the observed river flow during the flooding stage, where the simulated river flow was within 10% of the observed river flow at the Hopland gauge station on the Russian River.


  7. Ocean warming and long-term change in pelagic bird abundance within the california current system. Veit, R. R.; Pyle, P. & McGowan, J. A..
    Marine Ecology - Progress Series: 1996
    Notes
    As a result of repeated sampling of pelagic bird abundance over 3 x 105 km2 of open ocean 4 times a year for 8 yr, we report that seabird abundance within the California Current system has declined by 40% over the period 1987 to 1994. This decline has accompanied a concurrent, long-term increase in sea surface temperature. The decline in overall bird abundance is largely, but not entirely, a consequence of the 90% decline of sooty shearwaters Puffinus griseus, the numerically dominant species of the California Current. Seabirds of the offshore waters we sampled showed a different pattern from seabirds of the shelf and slope waters. Leach's storm-petrels Oceanodroma leucorhoa, the commonest species offshore, significantly increased during 1987 to 1994, while sooty shearwaters and other inshore species declined. Thus the dearest pattern that emerges from our data is one of gradual but persistent changes in abundance that transpire at time scales longer than 1 yr. Nevertheless, we did find evidence of change at shorter time scales (weeks and months) that may relate to the El Nino episode of 1992 to 1993: Pronounced positive anomalies of abundance of brown pelicans Pejecanus occidentajis and Heerman's gulls Larus heermani in fall 1991, and black Oceanodroma melania and least 0. microsoma storm-petrels in late summer 1992, likely reflect northward dispersal following reproductive failure in the Gulf of California.


  8. Plankton Patterns, Climate, and Change in the California Current. McGowan, John A.; Chelton, Dudley B. & Conversi, Alessandra.
    California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations: 1996

  9. Subsidence of agricultural lands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California: Role of aqueous and gaseous carbon fluxes. Deverel, Steven J & Rojstaczer, Stuart.
    Water Resources Research: 1996
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96WR01338
    DOI: 10.1029/96WR01338
    Notes
    To examine the causes of land subsidence on marshes drained for agriculture, carbon fluxes and changes in land-surface elevation were determined on three islands in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta, California. Over the time period of March 1990 to May 1992, gaseous CO2 fluxes were determined approximately monthly using closed chambers, and dissolved carbon fluxes were determined from the dissolved carbon loads of drainage ditches adjacent to each field site. Surface elevation changes were measured continuously by measuring the distance between the land surface and an elevated structure anchored beneath the organic soil layer. Gaseous CO2 fluxes accounted for most of the permanent subsidence measured over the monitoring period. Gaseous CO2 fluxes are strongly affected by soil temperature. Net subsidence rates for the three islands, which have different depths of organic soils and water- management practices, range from 0.46 to 1.06 cm/yr. Estimates of dissolved organic carbon fluxes for all three islands were small relative to gaseous CO2 losses and represent ,1% of the measured subsidence.


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