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Extent of the rain-snow transition zone in the western U.S. under historic and projected climate

Author(s): P. Zion Klos, Timothy E. Link, John T. Abatzoglou
Year Published: 2014
Description:

This study investigates the extent of the rain-snow transition zone across the complex terrain of the western United States for both late 20th century climate and projected changes in climate by the mid-21st century. Observed and projected temperature and precipitation data at 4 km resolution were used with an empirical probabilistic precipitation phase model to estimate and map the likelihood of snow versus rain occurrence. This approach identifies areas most likely to undergo precipitation phase change over the next half century. At broad scales, these projections indicate an average 30% decrease in areal extent of winter wet-day temperatures conducive to snowfall over the western United States. At higher resolution scales, this approach identifi es existing and potential experimental sites best suited for research investigating the mechanisms linking precipitation phase change to a broad array of processes, such as shifts in rain-on-snow flood risk, timing of water resource availability, and ecosystem dynamics.

Citation: Klos PZ, Link TE, Abatzoglou JT. 2014. Extent of the rain-snow transition zone in the western U.S. under historic and projected climate. Geophysical Research Letters 41, p. 4560-4568. doi:10.1002/2014GL060500
Topic(s): Fire Behavior, Weather
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 15660
Record updated: Jun 13, 2018