Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 17 items for

  • Author or Editor: Philip W. Mote x
  • All content x
Clear All Modify Search
Philip W. Mote

Abstract

Records of 1 April snow water equivalent (SWE) are examined here using multiple linear regression against reference time series of temperature and precipitation. This method permits 1) an examination of the separate roles of temperature and precipitation in determining the trends in SWE; 2) an estimation of the sensitivity of SWE to warming trends, and its distribution across western North America and as a function of elevation; and 3) inferences about responses of SWE to future warming. These results emphasize the sensitivity to warming of the mountains of northern California and the Cascades of Oregon and Washington. In addition, the contribution of modes of Pacific climate variability is examined and found to be responsible for about 10%–60% of the trends in SWE, depending on the period of record and climate index.

Full access
Philip W. Mote, Dominique Paquin, and Jeffrey Yin

As computing power has increased, it has become possible to run a state-of-the-art climate model on a workstation, and the use of climate models is spreading rapidly. However, the dispersion of climate modeling know-how has not kept pace with the dispersion of climate modeling capabilities. To connect new modelers with modeling know-how, a two-week climate modeling workshop was held. Participants designed and ran climate experiments under the guidance of a group of modeling experts. This paper describes the process that was followed in these climate experiments and gives an example of one experiment.

Full access
Karin A. Bumbaco and Philip W. Mote

Abstract

In common with much of the western United States, the Pacific Northwest (defined in this paper as Washington and Oregon) has experienced an unusual number of droughts in the past decade. This paper describes three of these droughts in terms of the precipitation, temperature, and soil moisture anomalies, and discusses different drought impacts experienced in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). For the first drought, in 2001, low winter precipitation in the PNW produced very low streamflow that primarily affected farmers and hydropower generation. For the second, in 2003, low summer precipitation in Washington (WA), and low summer precipitation and a warm winter in Oregon (OR) primarily affected streamflow and forests. For the last, in 2005, a lack of snowpack due to warm temperatures during significant winter precipitation events in WA, and low winter precipitation in OR, had a variety of different agricultural and hydrologic impacts. Although the proximal causes of droughts are easily quantified, the ultimate causes are not as clear. Better precipitation observations in the PNW are required to provide timely monitoring of conditions leading to droughts to improve prediction in the future.

Full access
Ross D. Brown and Philip W. Mote

Abstract

A snowpack model sensitivity study, observed changes of snow cover in the NOAA satellite dataset, and snow cover simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) multimodel dataset are used to provide new insights into the climate response of Northern Hemisphere (NH) snow cover. Under conditions of warming and increasing precipitation that characterizes both observed and projected climate change over much of the NH land area with seasonal snow cover, the sensitivity analysis indicated snow cover duration (SCD) was the snow cover variable exhibiting the strongest climate sensitivity, with sensitivity varying with climate regime and elevation. The highest snow cover–climate sensitivity was found in maritime climates with extensive winter snowfall—for example, the coastal mountains of western North America (NA). Analysis of trends in snow cover duration during the 1966–2007 period of NOAA data showed the largest decreases were concentrated in a zone where seasonal mean air temperatures were in the range of −5° to +5°C that extended around the midlatitudinal coastal margins of the continents. These findings were echoed by the climate models that showed earlier and more widespread decreases in SCD than annual maximum snow water equivalent (SWEmax), with the zone of earliest significant decrease located over the maritime margins of NA and western Europe. The lowest SCD–climate sensitivity was observed in continental interior climates with relatively cold and dry winters, where precipitation plays a greater role in snow cover variability. The sensitivity analysis suggested a potentially complex elevation response of SCD and SWEmax to increasing temperature and precipitation in mountain regions as a result of nonlinear interactions between the duration of the snow season and snow accumulation rates.

Full access
Philip W. Mote, Peter A. Stott, and Robert S. Harwood

Abstract

The authors have used a spectral, primitive equation mechanistic model of the stratosphere and mesosphere to simulate observed stratospheric flow through the winters of 1991–92 and 1994–95 by forcing the model at 100 hPa with observed geopotential height. The authors assess the model’s performance quantitatively by comparing the simulations with the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UKMO) assimilated stratosphere–troposphere data. Time-mean, zonal-mean temperatures are generally within 5 K and winds within 5 m s−1; transient features, such as wave growth, are mostly simulated well. The phase accuracy of planetary-scale waves declines with altitude and wavenumber, and the model has difficulty correctly simulating traveling anticyclones in the upper stratosphere. The authors examine the minor warming of January 1995 which was unusual in its depth and development and which the model simulated fairly well. The authors also examine the minor warming of January 1992, which the model missed, and a major warming in February 1992 that occurred in the model but not in the observations.

Full access
Philip W. Mote, James R. Holton, and John M. Wallace

Abstract

No abstract available.

Full access
John T. Abatzoglou, David E. Rupp, and Philip W. Mote

Abstract

Observed changes in climate of the U.S. Pacific Northwest since the early twentieth century were examined using four different datasets. Annual mean temperature increased by approximately 0.6°–0.8°C from 1901 to 2012, with corroborating indicators including a lengthened freeze-free season, increased temperature of the coldest night of the year, and increased growing-season potential evapotranspiration. Seasonal temperature trends over shorter time scales (<50 yr) were variable. Despite increased warming rates in most seasons over the last half century, nonsignificant cooling was observed during spring from 1980 to 2012. Observations show a long-term increase in spring precipitation; however, decreased summer and autumn precipitation and increased potential evapotranspiration have resulted in larger climatic water deficits over the past four decades. A bootstrapped multiple linear regression model was used to better resolve the temporal heterogeneity of seasonal temperature and precipitation trends and to apportion trends to internal climate variability, solar variability, volcanic aerosols, and anthropogenic forcing. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Pacific–North American pattern were the primary modulators of seasonal temperature trends on multidecadal time scales: solar and volcanic forcing were nonsignificant predictors and contributed weakly to observed trends. Anthropogenic forcing was a significant predictor of, and the leading contributor to, long-term warming; natural factors alone fail to explain the observed warming. Conversely, poor model skill for seasonal precipitation suggests that other factors need to be considered to understand the sources of seasonal precipitation trends.

Full access
Sihan Li, Philip W. Mote, David E. Rupp, Dean Vickers, Roberto Mera, and Myles Allen
Full access
Philip W. Mote, Alan F. Hamlet, Martyn P. Clark, and Dennis P. Lettenmaier

In western North America, snow provides crucial storage of winter precipitation, effectively transferring water from the relatively wet winter season to the typically dry summers. Manual and telemetered measurements of spring snowpack, corroborated by a physically based hydrologic model, are examined here for climate-driven fluctuations and trends during the period of 1916–2002. Much of the mountain West has experienced declines in spring snowpack, especially since midcentury, despite increases in winter precipitation in many places. Analysis and modeling show that climatic trends are the dominant factor, not changes in land use, forest canopy, or other factors. The largest decreases have occurred where winter temperatures are mild, especially in the Cascade Mountains and northern California. In most mountain ranges, relative declines grow from minimal at ridgetop to substantial at snow line. Taken together, these results emphasize that the West's snow resources are already declining as earth's climate warms.

Full access
Alan F. Hamlet, Philip W. Mote, Martyn P. Clark, and Dennis P. Lettenmaier

Abstract

A physically based hydrology model is used to produce time series for the period 1916–2003 of evapotranspiration (ET), runoff, and soil moisture (SM) over the western United States from which long-term trends are evaluated. The results show that trends in ET in spring and summer are determined primarily by trends in precipitation and snowmelt that determine water availability. From April to June, ET trends are mostly positive due primarily to earlier snowmelt and earlier emergence of snow-free ground, and secondarily to increasing trends in spring precipitation. From July to September trends in ET are more strongly influenced by precipitation trends, with the exception of areas (most notably California) that receive little summer precipitation and have experienced large changes in snowmelt timing. Trends in the seasonal timing of ET are modest, but during the period 1947–2003 when temperature trends are large, they reflect a shift of ET from midsummer to early summer and late spring. As in other studies, it is found that runoff is occurring earlier in spring, a trend that is related primarily to increasing temperature, and is most apparent during 1947–2003. Trends in the annual runoff ratio, a variable critical to western water management, are determined primarily by trends in cool season precipitation, rather than changes in the timing of runoff or ET. It was found that the signature of temperature-related trends in runoff and SM is strongly keyed to mean midwinter [December–February (DJF)] temperatures. Areas with warmer winter temperatures show increasing trends in the runoff fraction as early as February, and colder areas as late as June. Trends toward earlier spring SM recharge are apparent and increasing trends in SM on 1 April are evident over much of the region. The 1 July SM trends are less affected by snowmelt changes and are controlled more by precipitation trends.

Full access