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Nikolaos Christidis, Peter A. Stott, Simon Brown, David J. Karoly, and John Caesar

Abstract

Increasing surface temperatures are expected to result in longer growing seasons. An optimal detection analysis is carried out to assess the significance of increases in the growing season length during 1950–99, and to measure the anthropogenic component of the change. The signal is found to be detectable, both on global and continental scales, and human influence needs to be accounted for if it is to be fully explained. The change in the growing season length is found to be asymmetric and largely due to the earlier onset of spring, rather than the later ending of autumn. The growing season length, based on exceedence of local temperature thresholds, has a rate of increase of about 1.5 days decade−1 over the observation area. Local variations also allow for negative trends in parts of North America. The analysis suggests that the signal can be attributed to the anthropogenic forcings that have acted on the climate system and no other forcings are necessary to describe the change. Model projections predict that under future climate change the later ending of autumn will also contribute significantly to the lengthening of the growing season, which will increase in the twenty-first century by more than a month. Such major changes in seasonality will affect physical and biological systems in several ways, leading to important environmental and socioeconomic consequences and adaptation challenges.

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M.G. Donat, L.V. Alexander, H. Yang, I. Durre, R. Vose, and J. Caesar
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David J. Gochis, Christopher J. Watts, Jaime Garatuza-Payan, and Julio Cesar-Rodriguez

Abstract

Detailed information on the spatial and temporal characteristics of precipitation intensity from the mountainous region of northwest Mexico has, until recently, been lacking. As part of the 2004 North American Monsoon Experiment (NAME) enhanced observing period (EOP) surface rain gauge networks along with weather radar and orbiting satellites were employed to observe precipitation in a manner heretofore unprecedented for this semiarid region. The NAME Event Rain gauge Network (NERN), which has been in operation since 2002, contributed to this effort. Building on previous work, this paper presents analyses on the spatial and temporal characteristics of precipitation intensity as observed by NERN gauges. Analyses from the 2004 EOP are compared with the 2002–04 period and with long-term gauge observations. It was found that total precipitation from July to August of 2004 was similar in spatial extent and magnitude to the long-term average, though substantially wetter than 2003. Statistical analyses of precipitation intensity data from the NERN reveal that large precipitation events at hourly and daily time scales are restricted to coastal and low-elevation areas west of the Sierra Madre Occidental. At 10-min time scales, maximum intensity values equal to those at low elevations could be observed at higher elevations though they were comparatively infrequent. It is also shown that the inclusion of NERN observations in existing operational analyses helps to correct significant biases, which, on the seasonal time scale, are of similar magnitude as the interannual variability in precipitation in key headwater regions of northwest Mexico.

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Cesar Azorin-Molina, Tim R. McVicar, Jose A. Guijarro, Blair Trewin, Andrew J. Frost, Gangfeng Zhang, Lorenzo Minola, Seok-Woo Son, Kaiqiang Deng, and Deliang Chen

Abstract

Wind gusts represent one of the main natural hazards due to their increasing socioeconomic and environmental impacts on, for example, human safety, maritime–terrestrial–aviation activities, engineering and insurance applications, and energy production. However, the existing scientific studies focused on observed wind gusts are relatively few compared to those on mean wind speed. In Australia, previous studies found a slowdown of near-surface mean wind speed, termed “stilling,” but a lack of knowledge on the multidecadal variability and trends in the magnitude (wind speed maxima) and frequency (exceeding the 90th percentile) of wind gusts exists. A new homogenized daily peak wind gusts (DPWG) dataset containing 548 time series across Australia for 1941–2016 is analyzed to determine long-term trends in wind gusts. Here we show that both the magnitude and frequency of DPWG declined across much of the continent, with a distinct seasonality: negative trends in summer–spring–autumn and weak negative or nontrending (even positive) trends in winter. We demonstrate that ocean–atmosphere oscillations such as the Indian Ocean dipole and the southern annular mode partly modulate decadal-scale variations of DPWG. The long-term declining trend of DPWG is consistent with the “stilling” phenomenon, suggesting that global warming may have reduced Australian wind gusts.

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