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Mark A. Snyder
Lisa C. Sloan


Regional climate models (RCMs) have improved our understanding of the effects of global climate change on specific regions. The need for realistic forcing has led to the use of fully coupled global climate models (GCMs) to produce boundary conditions for RCMs. The advantages of using fully coupled GCM output is that the global-scale interactions of all components of the climate system (ocean, sea ice, land surface, and atmosphere) are considered. This study uses an RCM, driven by a fully coupled GCM, to examine the climate of a region centered over California for the time periods 1980–99 and 2080–99. Statistically significant increases in mean monthly temperatures by up to 7°C are found for the entire state. Large changes in precipitation occur in northern California in February (increase of up to 4 mm day−1 or 30%) and March (decrease of up to 3 mm day−1 or 25%). However, in most months, precipitation changes between the cases were not statistically significant. Statistically significant decreases in snow accumulation of over 100 mm (50%) occur in some months. Temperature increases lead to decreases in snow accumulation that impact the hydrologic budget by shifting spring and summer runoff into the winter months, reinforcing results of other studies that used different models and driving conditions.

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