Dec 1, 2006

Climate-Driven Variability and Trends in Mountain Snowpack in Western North America

Philip Mote
American Meteorological Society
  • Examines records of April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE) using multiple linear regression against reference time series of temperature and precipitation
  • States that this method permits 1) an examination of the separate roles of temperature and precipitation in determining the trends in SWE; 2) an estimation of the sensitivity of SWE to warming trends, and its distribution across western North America and as a function of elevation; and 3) inferences about responses of SWE to future warming
  • Results emphasize the sensitivity to warming of the mountains of northern California and the Cascades of Oregon and Washington
  • Examines the contribution of modes of Pacific climate variability and finds these to be responsible for about 10%–60% of the trends in SWE, depending on the period of record and climate index