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California Getting Wetter to the North, Drier to the South: Natural Variability or Climate Change?

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
Biological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768, USA
Department of Geosciences & Environment, California State University, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2014, 2(3), 168-180;
Received: 9 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Current climate change projections anticipate that global warming trends will lead to changes in the distribution and intensity of precipitation at a global level. However, few studies have corroborated these model-based results using historical precipitation records at a regional level, especially in our study region, California. In our analyses of 14 long-term precipitation records representing multiple climates throughout the state, we find northern and central regions increasing in precipitation while southern regions are drying. Winter precipitation is increasing in all regions, while other seasons show mixed results. Rain intensity has not changed since the 1920s. While Sacramento shows over 3 more days of rain per year, Los Angeles has almost 4 less days per year in the last century. Both the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) greatly influence the California precipitation record. The climate change signal in the precipitation records remains unclear as annual variability overwhelms the precipitation trends. View Full-Text
Keywords: precipitation trends; climate change; California climate precipitation trends; climate change; California climate
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Killam, D.; Bui, A.; LaDochy, S.; Ramirez, P.; Willis, J.; Patzert, W. California Getting Wetter to the North, Drier to the South: Natural Variability or Climate Change? Climate 2014, 2, 168-180.

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