- Last updated:
- 10 July 2015
The ongoing California Drought of 2012-2015: A testbed for understanding regional climate extremes in a warming world
- 1 January 2015
The state of California has experienced the worst meteorological drought in its historical record during 2012-2015. The adverse effects of this multi-year event have been far from uniformly distributed across the region, ranging from remarkably mild in most of California's densely-populated coastal cities to very severe in more rural, agricultural, and wildfire-prone regions. This duality of impacts has created a tale of two very different California droughts—highlighting enhanced susceptibility to climate stresses at the environmental and socioeconomic margins of California. From a geophysical perspective, the persistence of related atmospheric anomalies have raised a number of questions regarding the drought's origins—including the role of anthropogenic climate change. Recent investigations underscore the importance of understanding the underlying physical causes of extremes in the climate system, and the present California drought represents an excellent case study for such endeavors. Meanwhile, a powerful El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean offers the simultaneous prospect of partial drought relief but also an increased risk of flooding during the 2015-2016 winter—a situation illustrative of the complex hydroclimatic risks California and other regions are likely to face in a warming world.
This collection brings together papers published in Geophysical Research Letters on the 2012-2015 California drought.
- 28 November 2013
Reconstruction of Western Pacific Climate Change and Variability Since the Last Glacials: Interannual to Millennial Scales
- 1 January 2011
- 1 January 2002
- 1 November 1983
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Featured Special Collection
The atmosphere varies naturally on all length scales from millimeters to thousands of kilometers, and on all time scales from seconds to decades and longer. This special collection of Geophysical Research Letters synthesizes and summarizes that variability through a phenomenological census. The collection brings together some of the most influential and definitive papers to have been published in this journal in recent years. The topics covered include turbulence on time scales of seconds and minutes, gravity waves on time scales of hours, weather systems on time scales of days, atmospheric blocking on time scales of weeks, the Madden–Julian Oscillation on time scales of months, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation on time scales of years, and the North Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific Decadal, and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillations on time scales of decades. The collection is accompanied by a Commentary article, which provides an authoritative, concise, and accessible point of reference for the most important modes of atmospheric variability.
A Census of Atmospheric Variability from Seconds to Decades