[Special Seminar] Pierce on "The uneven response of different snow measures to human-induced climate warming"

Start Date/Time: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 12:00 PM
Ending Date/Time: Thursday, June 13, 2013, 1:00 PM
Location: Electrical Engineering Building 303

Dr. David Pierce from Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Abstract: The effect of human-induced climate warming on different snow measures in the western U.S. is compared by calculating the time required to achieve a statistically significant linear trend in the different measures, using time series derived from regionally downscaled global climate models. The measures examined include the water content of the spring snowpack, total cold season snowfall, fraction of winter precipitation that falls as snow, length of the snow season, and fraction of cold season precipitation retained in the spring snowpack, as well as temperature and precipitation. Various stakeholders may be interested in different sets of these variables. It is found that temperature and the fraction of winter precipitation that falls as snow exhibit significant trends first, followed in 5-10 years by the fraction of cold season precipitation retained in the spring snowpack, and later still by the water content of the spring snowpack. Change in total cold-season snowfall is least detectable of all the measures, since it is strongly linked to precipitation, which has large natural variability and only a weak anthropogenic trend in the western United States. Averaging over increasingly wider areas monotonically increases the signal-to-noise ratio of the 1950-2025 linear trend by 0.15 to 0.37, depending on the snow measure.

Directions: When you get to the Electrical Engineering Building, use the entrance nearest the fountain, there are stairs and an elevator. Once on the third floor, the room is at the end of the hall, overlooking the fountain.