A couple very dry papers, yet pun intended
McEvoy, D.J, J.L. Huntington, J.T. Abatzoglou and L.E. Edwards, 2012, An Evaluation of Multi-scalar Drought Indices in Nevada and Eastern California, Earth Interactions, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2012EI000447.1
Sohrabi, M.M., J.H. Ryu, J.T. Abatzoglou and J. Tracy, 2012, Climate extremes and their linkage to regional drought over Idaho, USA, Natural Hazards, doi: 10.1007/s11069-012-0384-1
I developed a methodology to create high-resolution surface
meteorological conditions that include temperature,
precipitation, humidity, winds and downward shortwave radiation
at 4-km for the continental United States 1979-2010 by blending
NLDAS-2 high-temporal resolution data with the high-spatial
resolution climate dataset of PRISM.
J. T. (2011), Development of gridded surface meteorological
data for ecological applications and modelling. International
Journal of Climatology. doi: 10.1002/joc.3413
Multiple direct and indirect threats to invasive annual grasses expansion in western US rangelands amplified in a changing climate? This paper in Rangeland Ecology and
Management provides some new insights into what might shape the west under a changing climate.
Abatzoglou JT, Kolden CA, 2011. Climate Change in Western US Deserts: Potential for
Increased Wildfire and Invasive Annual Grasses. Rangeland Ecology & Management: September 2011, Vol. 64, No. 5, pp. 471-478.
New paper examining whether climate or weather had a bigger influence on area burned by wildfires in the Alaskan boreal forest published in International Journal of Wildland
Abatzoglou JT, Kolden CA, 2011. Relative Importance of Weather and Climate on Wildfire Growth in Interior Alaska.
International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(4) 479-486.
Output from the novel statistical downscaling method, the Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) method, is being distributed via Inside Idaho. A companion paper has been accepted to International Journal of Climatology, "A Comparison of Downscaling
methods suited for wildfire applications". A
short video briefing is forthcomming on the methodology within the spectrum of other statistical downscaling methodologies.
Dr. Solomon Dobrowski and Shawn Crimmins led a study that I
contributed to that examined the hypothesis that vegetation
distributions in California moved downhill between the 1930s and
2000s in northern/central California in response to an increase
in precipitation and moisture. See publication and press
Positive PNA Exacerbates Mountain Snowpack Loss in the West Large
declines in mountain snowpack in the West represents an important climate impact for a variety of reasons. While prior studies have shown this
loss to be consitent with climate change, and other have showed snowpack to fluctuate with the PDO, this work explicitly details how changes in the
snow-level on synoptic timescales during late winter have risen over the last half century with an assist from the prevelant atmospheric mode over
the West - the Pacific North American (PNA) pattern. This work shows that the shift in the PNA toward a positive phase has hastened the loss of
snowpack in the West.
ENSO Climate Risks El
Oscillation is the single most important mode for interannual climate variability. Although most
have examined ENSOs influences on climate means, this study looks at how ENSO alters the odds of
climatic extremes on monthly and seasonal timescales. A set of maps illustrates the geographic and
seasonal influence of active ENSO periods on the likelihood of extremely wet/dry and warm/cold
periods. As ENSO is reasonably well predicted, these maps may be used for impact mitigation
proactively by stakeholders in wildfire management, agriculture and land resources.
Impacts of Climate Change on Fire Danger in
West We use a new statistical downscaling method to project changes in NFDRS fire
danger indices across a suite of GCMs for the late 21st century. Results suggest an
frequency of extreme fire danger class days and an increased likelihood of synchronized
The MJO influence on lightning patterns across the continental US
Summertime cloud-to-ground lightning strikes are responsible for the majority of wildfire ignitions across vast sections of the seasonally dry western United States. In this study, a strong connection between
active phases of the Madden Julian oscillation (MJO) and regional summertime lightning activity was found across the interior western United States. This intraseasonal mode of lightning activity emanates
northward from the desert Southwest across the Great Basin and into the northern Rocky Mountains. The MJO is shown to provide favorable conditions for the northward propagation of widespread lightning
activity through the amplification of the upper-level ridge over the western United States and the development of midtropospheric instability. Given the relative predictability of the MJO with long lead
times, results allude to the potential for intraseasonal predictability of lightning activity and proactive fire management planning.
Characterizing Regional Climate Patterns in California
The spatial and temporal scales at which climate signals are realized are important for a variety of applications. The smaller the scale at which such information can be provided, the greater the relevance to
users for most applications. However, the sparseness of high quality long-term observations is limited across much of the West. This is particularly true in regions of complex terrain where current NCDC
climate divisions may be inadequate (e.g., aggregating mountain and valleys) therein necessitating an alternative characterization of regional-scale climate for user groups ranging from water managers to the
energy sector. A novel approach that objectively identifies regional patterns of climate variability within the state of California using principal component analysis on monthly precipitation and temperature
data from a network of 195 climate stations statewide. The confluence of large-scale circulation patterns and the complex geography of the state result in 11 regional modes of climate variability within the
state. Objectively identified regions can be employed not only in tracking regional climate signatures, but also in improving the understanding of mechanisms behind regional climate variability and climate
change. The analysis has been incorporated into an operational tool called the California Climate Tracker (http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/monitor/cal-mon/) that provides real-time monthly updates of climate for
regions across the state alongside historical data extending back to 1895.
How much influence does landscape-scale physiography have on air temperature
in a mountain environment?
Spatio-temporal patterns of temperature in mountain environments are complex due to both regional synoptic-scale and landscape-scale physiographic controls in these
systems. Understanding the nature and magnitude of these physiographic effects has practical and theoretical implications for the development of temperature datasets
used in ecosystem assessment and climate change impact studies in regions of complex terrain. This study attempts to quantify the absolute and relative influence of
landscape-scale physiographic factors in mediating regional temperatures and assess how these influences vary in time for a group of SNOTEL and COOP stations in the
Lake Tahoe Basin in California
Fire Behavior, Weather, and Burn Severity of the 2007 Anaktuvuk River
Tundra Fire, North Slope, Alaska
In 2007, the Anaktuvuk River Fire (ARF) became the largest recorded tundra fire on the North Slope of Alaska. The ARF burned for nearly three months, consuming more
than 100,000 ha. The conditions potentially responsible for this large tundra fire include modeled record high summer temperature and record low summer precipitation, a late-season high-pressure system located over the Beaufort Sea, extremely dry soil
conditions throughout the summer, and sustained southerly winds during the period of vegetation senescence. Burn severity mapping revealed that more than 80% of the ARF
burned at moderate to extreme severity, while the nearby Kuparuk River Fire remained small and burned at predominantly (80%) low severity. While this study provides
information that may aid in the prediction of future large tundra fires in northern Alaska, the fact that three other tundra fires that occurred in 2007 combined to
burn less than 1000 ha suggests site specific complexities associated with tundra fires on the North Slope, which may hamper the development of tundra fire forecasting
Driest Spring in 114 years: The California Climate Tracker, a
climate monitoring tool developed to characterize and track regional
climate variability for the state, has shown that the spring (MAM) of
2008 was the driest in history for the state of California as a
whole. Particularly noteworthy is the dryness experienced across
the central part of the state including the Central Coast, Bay Area,
Sacramento-Delta and the hydrologically important Sierra Nevada, all
which ranked as having the driest spring periods on record. Two
consecutive years of subpar preciptiation for the state constitues the
driest period since the drought of the late 80's -early 90s, with
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaiming drought for the state with
water restrictions for all. Explore the California