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Title: Increasing water cycle extremes in California and relation to ENSO cycle under global warming

California has experienced its most severe drought in recorded history since the winter of 2013-2014. The long duration of drought has stressed statewide water resources and the economy, while fueling an extraordinary increase in wildfires. The effects of global warming on the regional climate include a hotter and drier climate, as well as earlier snowmelt, both of which exacerbate drought conditions. However, connections between a changing climate and how climate oscillations modulate regional water cycle extremes are not well understood. Here we analyze large-ensemble simulations of future climate change in California using the Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1) and multiple climate models participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). Both intense drought and excessive flooding are projected to increase by at least 50% toward the end of the 21st century. Furthermore, the projected increase in water cycle extremes is associated with tighter relation to El Niño and Southern Oscillation (ENSO), particularly extreme El Niño and La Niña events, which modulates California’s climate not only through its warm and cold phases, but also ENSO’s precursor patterns.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Utah State Univ., Logan, UT (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; KP1703020
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; water cycle extremes; California; drought; climate; CO2; earth sciences; atmospheric science; climate science
OSTI Identifier: