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Local atmospheric decoupling in complex topography alters climate change impacts

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dc.creator Daly, Christopher
dc.creator Conklin, David R.
dc.creator Unsworth, Michael H.
dc.date.accessioned 2010-04-13T22:37:30Z
dc.date.available 2010-04-13T22:37:30Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.citation Conklin, C. D., Daly, C., Unsworth, M. H., 2009, Local atmospheric decoupling in complex topography alters climate change impacts: Int. J. Climatol. p. 1-8. en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/15402
dc.description Supplementary material included in separate file. This article was originally published in International Journal of Climatology and is copyrighted by the Royal Meteorological Society
dc.description.abstract Cold air drainage and pooling occur in many mountain valleys, especially at night and during winter. Local climate regimes associated with frequent cold air pooling have substantial impacts on species phenology, distribution and diversity. However, little is known about how the degree and frequency of cold air drainage and pooling will respond to a changing climate. Evidence suggests that, because cold pools are decoupled from the free atmosphere, these local climates may not respond in the same way as regional-scale climates estimated from coarse-grid general circulation models. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that historical changes in the frequency of synoptic conditions have produced complex spatial variations in the resulting climatic changes on the ground. In the mountainous terrain of the Oregon Cascades, we show that, at relatively exposed hill slope and ridge top locations, air temperatures are highly coupled to changes in synoptic circulation patterns at the 700-hPa level, whereas in sheltered valley bottoms, cold air pooling at night and during winter causes temperatures to be largely decoupled from, and relatively insensitive to, 700-hPa flow variations. The result is a complex temperature landscape composed of steep gradients in temporal variation, controlled largely by gradients in elevation and topographic position. When a projected climate warming of 2.5 °C was combined with likely changes in the frequency distribution of synoptic circulation, modelled temperature changes at closely spaced locations diverged widely (by up to 6°C), with differences equalling or exceeding that of the imposed regional temperature change. Because cold air pooling and consequent atmospheric decoupling occur in many mountain valleys, especially at high latitudes, this phenomenon is likely to be an important consideration in understanding the impacts of climate change in mountainous regions. en
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.publisher Royal Meteoroloical Society en
dc.relation Explorer Site::Oregon Explorer en
dc.relation.ispartofseries International Journal of Climatology en
dc.relation.ispartofseries 2009 en
dc.subject Climate change en
dc.subject cold air drainage en
dc.subject cold air pooling en
dc.subject temperature en
dc.subject complex terrain en
dc.subject synoptic circulation en
dc.subject climate impacts en
dc.title Local atmospheric decoupling in complex topography alters climate change impacts en
dc.type Article en
dc.identifier.doi 10.1002/joc.2007

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