U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Increasing Water Cycle Extremes in California, the ENSO Cycle, and Global Warming
Published: October 21, 2015
Posted: May 23, 2016

The ongoing drought in California is causing statewide water stress and severe economic loss and has raised an important scientific question: Will California continue to experience more drought in the coming decades? Using multi-ensemble simulations of the Community Earth System Model (CESM) and multimodel simulations archived in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5), Department of Energy scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and researchers at Utah State University found that water cycle extremes, including both extreme drought and flood, are projected to increase at least 50 percent to the end of the 21st century. They found that this projected increase in water cycle extremes is associated with a strengthened relationship to El Niño and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In particular, the association is with extreme El Niño and La Niña events that modulate California’s climate not only through its warm and cold phases, but also its precursor patterns. Two sets of the sensitivity experiments with CESM substantiated the role of the changing ENSO cycle on the water cycle extremes in California under global warming.

Reference: Yoon, J.-H., S.-Y. S. Wang, R. R. Gilles, B. Kravitz, L. Hipps, and P. J. Rasch. 2015. “Increasing Water Cycle Extremes in California and in Relation to ENSO Cycle under Global Warming,” Nature Communications 6(8657), DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9657. (Reference link)

Contact: Dorothy Koch, SC-23.1, (301) 903-0105
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)