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The Near and Distant Future of El Niño

Monday, March 10, 2014

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), better known simply as El Niño or La Niña, is normally a hot topic in the Southwest. La Niña is associated with dry winters, as we experienced most recently during 2010–2012, while El Niño winters generally are soakers. Both events occur, on average, every two to seven years, but lately not much has been happening. Up until recently, scientists have been unsure about what will happen to ENSO in a future warmer climate. However, over the past several months a couple of papers have been published arguing that we do know what will happen. (Read More)

Southwest Climate Podcast: Scant Precipitation and Resilient Ridges

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the January Southwest Climate Podcast, CLIMAS climate scientists Zack Guido and Mike Crimmins discuss the scant precipitation in recent months across the West and the role of the "ridiculously resilient ridge" – a persistent area of high pressure parked off the West Coast – in steering storms away from the region. (more)

CLIMAS Colloquium: Megadrought Risk - From the Globe Down to the Southwest

Friday, January 24, 2014

CLIMAS Colloquium Series - Speaker: Jonathan OverpeckIncreased drought risk is (and will be) arguably one of the most certain and troubling aspects of anthropogenic climate change for many parts of the world. At the same time, it is emerging in the scientific literature that state-of-the-art climate and Earth system models are not able to simulate the full range of drought, whether decade-scale droughts like seen recently in both the SW US, and Australia, or multidecadal “megadroughts” that eclipse droughts of the instrumental era in both duration and severity. Evidence for this assertion will be examined, particularly as it comes from the paleoclimatic record of several continents, in both semi-arid and wetter regions. The implications for decision-making will also be discussed, including the on-going operational use, in the United States, of no-regrets drought planning strategies that incorporate paleoclimatic data. Fortunately, because droughts will still occur for natural reasons as well as anthropogenic, increased drought preparedness is a clear “no-regrets” climate change adaptation strategy. (read more)

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