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Hydrology 2016, 3(2), 14; doi:10.3390/hydrology3020014

Variability and Trends in Precipitation, Temperature and Drought Indices in the State of California

Hydrology Branch, California Department of Water Resources, 3310 El Camino Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95821, USA
Central Valley Flood Planning Office, California Department of Water Resources, 3464 El Camino Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95821, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Luca Brocca
Received: 9 February 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 28 March 2016
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This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the variability and trends of the precipitation and temperature along with the trends in drought indices over the State of California. The non-parametric Mann–Kendall trend test is applied with a trend-free pre-whitening procedure in trend identification. A dataset containing 120-year (water years 1896–2015) monthly precipitation, average temperature, maximum temperature, minimum temperature and the Palmer Index for seven climatic regions of the state is used for this purpose. The results confirm previous work indicating that no clear trends are observed in precipitation, while a distinct warming trend is evident in temperature over the state. New findings of this study include: (1) in general, the variability of annual, winter (December–February) and spring (March–May) precipitation shows an increasing tendency, implying intensified frequency of the occurrence of dry or wet extremes; (2) on the annual scale and in the summer, statewide meteorological, hydrological and agricultural drought indices all have decreasing trends, indicating the more frequent occurrence of drought events; and (3) among seven regions, the South Coast Drainage region generally has the most significant warming trend, as well as the most significant declining trends in drought indices. Overall, these findings are highly meaningful from both theoretical and practical perspectives, in the context of providing critical information in developing prediction models and guiding water resources management practices, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: variability; trends; precipitation; temperature; drought; Mann–Kendall test; California variability; trends; precipitation; temperature; drought; Mann–Kendall test; California

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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He, M.; Gautam, M. Variability and Trends in Precipitation, Temperature and Drought Indices in the State of California. Hydrology 2016, 3, 14.

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