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Northwest Climate: the mean Factors that influence local/regional climate: 1. Latitude day length, intensity of sunlight 2. Altitude 3. Mountain Barriers

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  • Northwest Climate: the mean Factors that influence local/regional climate: 1. Latitude day length, intensity of sunlight 2. Altitude 3. Mountain Barriers 4. Proximity to the ocean ocean currents 5. location relative to prevailing winds
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  • Winter winds and pressure over the North Pacific Summer winds and pressure over the North Pacific Aleutian Low Subtropical High H H L L
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  • Oregon Climate Service http://www.ocs.orst.edu
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  • Northwest terrain maps the big-picture winds and storms onto a complex landscape localized cold air outbreaks the Puget Sound Convergence Zone rain shadows
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  • Arctic Blasts
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  • The Puget Sound Convergence Zone http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?atx_n0r+/12h/30m
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  • Annual average rain+snowfall: 1961-1990
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  • The predictable part: seasonal rhythms Puget Sound Precip Upwelling winds at 48N Amphitrite Pt SST Oct Feb Jun Jan May Sep Insolation
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  • Year to year variations on the seasonal rhythms Monthly Puget Sound Precip Daily Upwelling winds Monthly Amphitrite Pt SST
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  • Northwest Climate Variability
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  • Pollen records on the Olympic Peninsula Crocker Lake McLachlan, J. S. and L. B. Brubaker. 1995 Local and regional vegetation change on the northeastern Olympic Peninsula during the Holocene. Canadian J. of Botany. alder cedars pines df
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  • Source: Gedalof, Z., D.L. Peterson and Nathan J. Mantua. (2004). Columbia River Flow and Drought Since 1750. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The Dust Bowl (1929-1931) was probably not the worst drought sequence in the past 250 years (based on Columbia Basin Tree-ring chronologies) red = observed, blue = reconstructed
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  • PNW climate variability 1. What does our regions climate history tell us about natural variability? 2. How is climate variability experienced in the Pacific Northwest? * are there patterns within the region? * are there preferred frequencies of change (year to year, decade to decade, etc.) 3. Why does our climate vary?
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  • Warm and cool (or wet and dry) halves of the year: oct-mar versus apr- sep What do you see?
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  • Characteristics of variability? Lots of year-to-year variability in both halves of the year; longer-term variations Multi-decadal cycles and century long trends temperatures and precipitation are more variable in cool season than in warm season
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  • Washington State Oct-Sept Average Temperature 35 38 198019601940192019002000 40 Washington State Oct-Sept Total Precip 4 6 198019601940192019002000
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  • Riffe Lake, west slopes of the Cascades Spring 2001
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  • March 15 Snow depth anomalies at Paradise, Mt Rainier Avg ~ 4 meters (170 inches) January 5, 2005: 48 inches January 6, 2007: 130 inches Avg=4 meters
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  • Water Year Columbia River streamflow Average annual runoff at The Dalles, Oregon ~ 150 Million Acre-Feet (MAF); Oct 2000-September 2001 ~ 100 MAF
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  • NW Climate variability Why the strong climate changes? The chaotic nature of the climate system big volcanic eruptions natural modes of climate variability internal to the climate system: in the Pacific sector, changes in ENSO and PDO are important factors
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  • Oct 97-Mar 98: El Nio Oct 98-Mar 99: La Nia
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  • El Nio year precip anomalies Oct 1997- Mar 1998 La Nia year precip anomalies Oct 1998- Mar 1999
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  • Regional patterns? Typically, cool-season (oct-mar) climate anomalies are coherent throughout most of the PNW region warm-season climate anomalies also tend to be regionally coherent, but to a lesser degree
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  • Accumulated daily rainfall: Oct 1 1998-Sept 20 1999 A very wet year everywhere but Yakima! http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/current_impacts/global_precip_accum.html
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  • composite avg PNW temperature and precipitation during El Nio and La Nia (based on averages of past centurys events) EN-LN
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  • The Pacific Decadal Oscillation an El Nio-like pattern of climate variability 20 to 30 year periods of persistence in North American and Pacific Basin climate warm extremes prevailed from 1925-46, and again from 1977-98; a prologed cold era spanned 1947-76 1998? 192519471977 Mantua et al. 1997, BAMS
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  • Real time nowcasts of the PDO? http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo Monthly PDO index: 1982-2010 Because we dont know how the PDO works (key mechanisms for decadal patterns remain mysterious), we cant be sure that the SST pattern (and PDO index) is a good indicator for where we are with this pattern. Recent years have a variable PDO index
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  • PDO and PNW monthly temperatures and precipitation
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  • PDO and Cascades snowpack
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  • Water year stream flow composites for Columbia River natural flows at The Dalles, Oregon
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  • PDO/ENSO and NW hydrology Because extremes in ENSO and PDO tend to favor states of the Aleutian Low that favor either warm and wet or cool and dry conditions, these combinations lead to amplified responses in snowpack and streamflow Ex: cold wet weather, lower snowline, more precipitation, more snow, less evaporation and more runoff
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  • Cool/Warm PDO and Paradise snowdepth histograms
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  • Observed SST anomalies: Nov 14 - Dec 11, 2010 Degrees C
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  • The Latest Climate forecasts from the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction iri.colombia.edu
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  • Recent La Nia Year snowpack http://www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/ParadiseCraterLakeS now.php 1998-99
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  • Recent La Nia Year snowpack http://www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/ParadiseCraterLakeS now.php 2000-01
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  • Recent La Nia Year snowpack http://www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/ParadiseCraterLakeSnow.php 2005-06
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  • http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/ This year Last year 30 yr avg

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