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Title: Anthropogenic warming impacts on California snowpack during drought

Sierra Nevada climate and snowpack is simulated during the period of extreme drought from 2011 to 2015 and compared to an identical simulation except for the removal of the twentieth century anthropogenic warming. Anthropogenic warming reduced average snowpack levels by 25%, with middle-to-low elevations experiencing reductions between 26 and 43%. In terms of event frequency, return periods associated with anomalies in 4 year 1 April snow water equivalent are estimated to have doubled, and possibly quadrupled, due to past warming. Here, we also estimate effects of future anthropogenic warmth on snowpack during a drought similar to that of 2011–2015. Further snowpack declines of 60–85% are expected, depending on emissions scenario. The return periods associated with future snowpack levels are estimated to range from millennia to much longer. Therefore, past human emissions of greenhouse gases are already negatively impacting statewide water resources during drought, and much more severe impacts are likely to be inevitable.
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0014061; EF-1065853; 12-469
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 44; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF); Annenberg Foundation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; drought; snowpack; warming; water resources; Sierra Nevada
OSTI Identifier:
1465344
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1402209