Presentation Overview. Southwestern Climate: Past, present and future. Global Energy Balance. What is climate?

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1 Southwestern Climate: Past, present and future Mike Crimmins Climate Science Extension Specialist Dept. of Soil, Water, & Env. Science & Arizona Cooperative Extension The University of Arizona Presentation Overview The global climate system An overview of Arizona climate Why so much variability? Climate change and Arizona What is climate? Climatology: analysis of long-term weather patterns over time or space The frequency of extreme events also important in climatic analyses (e.g. droughts & floods) Mean conditions AND variability From: Global Energy Balance From Global Circulations: Flows of Mass & Energy Atmosphere Ocean From From 1

2 Annual Average Arizona Temperatures Background on AZ Climate Annual Average Arizona Precipitation Arizona Climograph precip (in.) 1 4 temp (F).5 2 jan feb mar apr may jun jul aug sep oct nov dec Precip (in.) Temp (F) Jan Dec 3 in. Seasonal Distribution of Precipitation More winter precip in northern AZ Stronger monsoon signal in southeast AZ (more summer precip) Annual Average Arizona Potential Evapotranspiration (graphic from Sheppard, et al. 2) Mean Annual Precip (in.) Annual Avg. Temp (F) 2

3 Average Daily Observations: Coolidge-AZMET.5 1 Long-term Precipitation Daily averages based Variability on period Annual Avg. Total Precip: 7.4 in. Annual Avg. Total ET: 77.6 in.45 9 Example Water Balance: Walnut Gulch, Arizona inches deg F Day of Year Ref ET (in) Total Precip (in) Avg Temp (F) Precipitation: Upper Gila Annual Total Precipitation Upper Gila Summer Total Precipitation Upper Gila Winter Total Precipitation 3

4 Bowie, AZ - NWS Coop Daily Precip Analysis Precip (in) /26/212 Total precip by season Year Bowie, AZ - NWS Coop Daily Precip Analysis San Simon Watershed OND JAS AMJ JFM Days Days Total Wet Days (precip>.4) per year Total Wet Days (precip>.4) per season JFM AMJ JAS OND Historic Streamflows Southern AZ Upper Gila Avg. Annual Temperature From USGS, Atmospheric Circulation and Arizona Climate Atmospheric Controls on Arizona Climate Large-scale circulation patterns are an important determinant of local climate Arizona has a unique geographic position in northern hemisphere Circulation patterns are tied to global ocean sea surface temperatures Patterns can persist for years and even decades 4

5 Seasonality of Circulation Patterns Global Circulations and Aridity Winter Circulation Pattern Summer Circulation Pattern MOIST AIR DRY AIR H L Shift of jet stream track towards Arizona H DRY AIR H MOIST AIR Monsoon circulation Weak flow around expanded Bermuda sub-tropical high-pressure system H Monsoon North American Monsoon Monsoon start dates for Tucson Average start July 3 rd Earliest start June 17 2 Latest start July Monsoon season rainfall (June 15th to September 3th) Average monsoon season rainfall 6.6 Driest monsoon season 1.59 in 1924 Wettest monsoon season in

6 Upper Level Flow - May Upper Level Flow - June Upper Level Flow - July CA westerly wind NV UT CO Four Corners High Pressure NE KS CO. River Valley Thermal Low AZ NM TX Mid-level moisture from Gulf of Mexico TX Low-level moisture from Gulf of California Core Monsoon Area (abundant tropical moisture, frequent thunderstorm activity) PACIFIC OCEAN GULF OF MEXICO Conceptual diagram of key circulation features of the North American Monsoon System Mexico easterly wind El Nino Southern Oscillation Interannual Climate Variability 6

7 Dominant Circulation Pattern: La Nina Winter Dominant Circulation Pattern: El Nino Winter Arizona Drought Arizona ENSO Connection Pacific Decadal Oscillation Warm Cool Period North Pacific SSTs Southwest Winters 192s-194s Cold Wetter 194s-197s Warm Drier 197s-2?? Cold Wetter 2??-???? Warm Drier? Surf. Pressure Anomaly PDO index (from Pacific Decadal Oscillation (Nov-Mar) (from Pagano 1999) Climate Change Trends and patterns in temp IPCC 27 7

8 Trends in Nov-Mar Snowfall Fraction Observed U.S. Climatic Trends More Rain, Less Snow More Snow, Less Rain Courtesy of Noah Knowles, USGS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 What is going on and why? Dev= Changes in greenhouse gases over the past 1, years IPCC 27 From 8

9 Climate Change Attribution Natural vs. Anthropogenic Forcings Observed Earth is now radiating.85 W/m 2 less energy than it is receiving Imbalance and associated warming are consistent with GHG forcings Components of natural variability (e.g. solar irradiance and volcanic aerosols) are small More warming in the pipeline Natural Only Hansen et al. 25 Stott et al. (2) Precipitation Sensitivity to Warming Temperatures Where are we headed? Solomon et al. 29 Temp Projections for Arizona Increasing Temps=Increasing Aridity? IPCC-AR4 18 model ensemble output Courtesy of Jon Eischeid and Marty Hoerling, NOAA Hoerling & Eischeid 27 9

10 Implications for Arizona Higher temperatures Higher evaporation and transpiration rates (increased water loss in reservoirs, faster drying of soils following precip events, more stress on vegetation) Less snow/more rain in winter; less snowpack for spring runoff, earlier pulse of precip/less water available in summer Longer growing seasons; more extreme events Precipitation Projections are lower confidence Higher temperatures on same precipitation variability: more intense drought periods Increasing variability more flooding with intervening drought periods Closing Points Elevation, latitude, and ocean sea-surface temperatures create a complex Arizona climate Different mechanisms create summer versus winter precipitation Lots of opportunity for variability (spatially and temporally) Climate change is real and a reason for concern in Arizona Resources Climate Assessment for the Southwest ( National Weather Service ( Climate Prediction Center ( Western Regional Climate Center ( National Drought Monitor ( Climate Science Applications Program ( 1

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