Long-term Western precipitation trends are stable, says atmospheric scientist

Posted: December 17, 2022 by oldbrew in Analysis, atmosphere, data, Natural Variation, Surfacestation, weather

California flood control channel [image credit: UC Berkeley]

Looking a lot further back than the satellite era can give a better perspective in weather trends. Nothing for alarmists to see here.
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Although the West has experienced major ups and downs in its precipitation patterns from year to year, over the past 130 years regions that provide the major source for spring and summer runoff have not shown a long-term pattern that indicates a permanent decline in precipitation, according to research by Dr. John Christy, a distinguished professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Earth Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

The results of Dr. Christy’s construction and analysis of the longest, regional-scale time series of snowfall accumulations for Washington, Oregon and California from 1890–2020 are in a paper in the December 2022 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Hydrometeorology, says Phys.org.

As part of a joint project between UAH and the Department of Energy, Dr. Christy examined archived snowfall data dating back to 1890 from over 700 stations located in the three states.

“This research informs the water users who depend on snowmelt out West that even though some areas are experiencing a severe drought today, this current pattern, at least to this point in time, is not part of a long-term trend,” says Dr. Christy, who is also Alabama’s state climatologist and the director of the Earth Systems Science Center at UAH, a part of the University of Alabama System.

“As seasoned water resource officials out West already know, it’s usually feast—floods—or famine—droughts—and not a whole lot of average in between,” he says. “Yet, over 130 years, the trend with these ups and downs is fairly flat.”
. . .
As a native of California, Dr. Christy, a weather nerd since childhood, would watch the impacts of winter storms as they draped snow across the Sierras from his home in Fresno County. With a longtime interest in Western snow, Dr. Christy says he was enthusiastic about partnering with DOE on this project.

Full article here.

  1. Curious George says:

    130 years back .. be sure to avoid the Great Flood of 1862 in California, Oregon, and Nevada. I like 130, it is such a nice naturally occurring number.

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