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Trends in spring snowpack over a half-century of climate warming in California, USA

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Linear trends in 1 April snow water equivalent (SWE) in California, USA, are determined from a dense network of observations over the period 1950–2002. These trends are compared to concurrent time series of precipitation and temperature and Pacific Ocean climate indices. We find increased winter temperatures have accompanied both decreasing and increasing SWE trends, resulting in a weak overall negative trend in spring SWE. The spatial distribution of SWE trend is dependent on both latitude and elevation. Increases in both precipitation and temperature have led to increases in SWE at high elevations in southern Sierra Nevada and decreases at lower elevations. Increased temperature and decreased precipitation are associated with SWE loss in northern California. Trends in SWE can partially be attributed to shifts in Pacific Ocean climate indices.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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