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Title: Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall [Seasonally ice-free Arctic favors dry California]

Abstract

From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here in this paper we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential ridge development. In a two-step teleconnection, sea-ice changes lead to reorganization of tropical convection that in turn triggers an anticyclonic response over the North Pacific, resulting in significant drying over California. These findings suggest that the ability of climate models to accurately estimate future precipitation changes over California is also linked to the fidelity with which future sea-ice changes are simulated. We conclude that sea-ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next decades could substantially impact California’s precipitation, thus highlighting another mechanism by which human-caused climate change could exacerbate future California droughts.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Climate Modeling and Analysis
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Geography and Berkeley Atmospheric Sciences Center
  3. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States); Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23), Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (SC-23.1 )
OSTI Identifier:
1466961
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1476579
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-680635
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; 804858
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Cvijanovic, Ivana, Santer, Benjamin D., Bonfils, Céline, Lucas, Donald D., Chiang, John C. H., and Zimmerman, Susan. Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall [Seasonally ice-free Arctic favors dry California]. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01907-4.
Cvijanovic, Ivana, Santer, Benjamin D., Bonfils, Céline, Lucas, Donald D., Chiang, John C. H., & Zimmerman, Susan. Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall [Seasonally ice-free Arctic favors dry California]. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01907-4.
Cvijanovic, Ivana, Santer, Benjamin D., Bonfils, Céline, Lucas, Donald D., Chiang, John C. H., and Zimmerman, Susan. Fri . "Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall [Seasonally ice-free Arctic favors dry California]". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01907-4. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1466961.
@article{osti_1466961,
title = {Future loss of Arctic sea-ice cover could drive a substantial decrease in California’s rainfall [Seasonally ice-free Arctic favors dry California]},
author = {Cvijanovic, Ivana and Santer, Benjamin D. and Bonfils, Céline and Lucas, Donald D. and Chiang, John C. H. and Zimmerman, Susan},
abstractNote = {From 2012 to 2016, California experienced one of the worst droughts since the start of observational records. As in previous dry periods, precipitation-inducing winter storms were steered away from California by a persistent atmospheric ridging system in the North Pacific. Here in this paper we identify a new link between Arctic sea-ice loss and the North Pacific geopotential ridge development. In a two-step teleconnection, sea-ice changes lead to reorganization of tropical convection that in turn triggers an anticyclonic response over the North Pacific, resulting in significant drying over California. These findings suggest that the ability of climate models to accurately estimate future precipitation changes over California is also linked to the fidelity with which future sea-ice changes are simulated. We conclude that sea-ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next decades could substantially impact California’s precipitation, thus highlighting another mechanism by which human-caused climate change could exacerbate future California droughts.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-017-01907-4},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {12}
}

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