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Climate 2014, 2(1), 18-27; doi:10.3390/cli2010018

Understanding Climate Change on the California Coast: Accounting for Extreme Daily Events among Long-Term Trends

CASA Systems 2100, Los Gatos, CA 95030, USA
Received: 25 November 2013 / Revised: 14 January 2014 / Accepted: 12 February 2014 / Published: 27 February 2014
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The majority of weather station records indicate that surface air temperatures have been warming in California between 1950 and 2005. Temperature data from the mid-1990s to the present were analyzed for stations on California Central Coast near Big Sur (Monterey County) to better understand potential for climate change in this biologically unique region. Results showed that daily temperatures in both the winter and summer seasons have cooled the Big Sur coast, particularly after 2003. A current hypothesis is that observed coastal California cooling derives from greenhouse gas-induced regional warming of the inland Central Valley and Sierra Nevada foothill areas, resulting in stronger sustained on-shore sea-breeze flow. Closer examination of daily temperature records at a station location near the Big Sur coast revealed that, even as average monthly maximum temperatures (Tmax) have decreased gradually, the number of extreme warm summer days (Tmax > 37 °C) has also increased by several fold in frequency. Overall patterns in the station records since the mid-1990s indicated that diurnal temperature ranges are widening on the Big Sur coast, with markedly cooler nighttime temperatures (frequently in the wet winter season) followed by slightly higher-than-average daytime temperatures, especially during the warm, dry summer season. View Full-Text
Keywords: central coast; California; climate change; daily temperature central coast; California; climate change; daily temperature

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Potter, C. Understanding Climate Change on the California Coast: Accounting for Extreme Daily Events among Long-Term Trends. Climate 2014, 2, 18-27.

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