Full access annual drought in California: association with monthly precipitation and climate phases

Shukla, Shraddhanand, Steinemann, Anne, Iacobellis, Sam F., and Cayan, Daniel R. (2015) Full access annual drought in California: association with monthly precipitation and climate phases. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 54 (11). pp. 2273-2281.

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Abstract

Annual precipitation in California is more variable than in any other state and is highly influenced by precipitation in winter months. A primary question among stakeholders is whether low precipitation in certain months is a harbinger of annual drought in California. Historical precipitation data from 1895 to 2013 are investigated to identify leading monthly indicators of annual drought in each of the seven climate divisions (CDs) as well as statewide. For this study, drought conditions are defined as monthly/annual (October–September) precipitation below the 20th/30th percentile, and a leading indicator is defined as a monthly drought preceding or during an annual drought that has the strongest association (i.e., joint probability of occurrence) with a statewide annual drought. Monthly precipitation variability and contributions to annual precipitation, along with joint probabilities of drought among the winter months, are first analyzed. Then the probabilities of annual drought and the variability in leading indicators are analyzed according to different climate phases and CDs. This study identified December within a water year as being the leading indicator that is most frequently associated with annual drought statewide (56%) and in most of the CDs (the highest was CD2 at 65%). Associated with its leading-indicator status, December drought was most frequently associated with drought in other winter months (joint probability > 30%). Results from this study can help stakeholders to understand and assess the likelihood of annual drought events given monthly precipitation preceding or early in the water year.

Item ID: 43842
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1558-8432
Keywords: drought; precipitation; climate variability; emergency preparedness; risk assessment
Additional Information:

© Copyright 2015 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act September 2010 Page 2 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 USC §108, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a web site or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS Web site located at (https://www.ametsoc.org/) or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or copyrights@ametsoc.org.

Funders: California–Nevada Applications Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Integrated Drought Information System, Southwest Climate Science Center
Projects and Grants: NA11OAR4310150, NOAA NA13OAR4310172, NOAA NA15OAR4320071
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2016 00:54
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl Climate Change Processes) @ 50%
09 ENGINEERING > 0905 Civil Engineering > 090509 Water Resources Engineering @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960304 Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts) @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960913 Water Allocation and Quantification @ 35%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments @ 30%
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