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  1. Abstract In recent decades, the interior regions of Eurasia and North America have experienced several unprecedentedly cold winters despite the global surface air temperature increases. One possible explanation of these increasing extreme cold winters comes from the so-called Warm Arctic Cold Continent (WACC) pattern, reflecting the effects of the amplified Arctic warming in driving the circulation change over surrounding continents. This study analyzed reanalysis data and model experiments forced by different levels of anthropogenic forcing. It is found that WACC exists on synoptic scales in observations, model’s historical and even future runs. In the future, the analysis suggests a continued presence of WACC but with a slightly weakened cold extreme due to the overall warming. Warm Arctic events under the warmer climate will be associated with not only a colder continent in East Asia but also a warmer continent, depending on the teleconnection process that is also complicated by the warmer Arctic. Such an increasingly association suggests a reduction in potential predictability of the midlatitude winter anomalies. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Summertime air quality is a growing public health concern in the populated region of Northern Utah. Whereas winter air pollution is highly linked with local atmospheric temperature inversions associated with upper atmospheric high-pressure and radiational cooling in valleys, the relationship between climate factors and the frequency of poor air quality during summer is still unknown. Analyzing the last 20 years of data, we demonstrated that summertime unhealthy days (as defined by PM2.5 air quality index level) in Northern Utah highly correlate with the number of dry-hot days, wildfire size, and an upper atmospheric ridge over the Northwestern United States. The persistent atmospheric ridge enhances lightning-caused fire burned areas in northwestern states and then transports the wildfire smoke toward Northern Utah. Similarly, climate model simulations confirm observational findings, such as an increasing trend of the upper atmospheric ridge and summertime dry days in the northwestern states. Such metrics developed in this study could be used to establish longer-term monitoring and seasonal forecasting for air quality and its compounding factors, which is currently limited to forecasting products for only several days.

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  3. Abstract Historical wildfire events in California have shown a tendency to occur every five to seven years with a rapidly increasing tendency in recent decades. This oscillation is evident in multiple historical climate records, some more than a century long, and appears to be continuing. Analysis shows that this 5–7 year oscillation is linked to a sequence of anomalous large-scale climate patterns with an eastward propagation in both the ocean and atmosphere. While warmer temperature emerges from the northern central Pacific to the west coast of California, La Niña pattern develops simultaneously, implying that the lifecycle of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation that takes multiple years to form could be a trigger. The evolving patterns of the Pacific-to-North America atmospheric teleconnection suggest the role of tropical and subtropical forcing embedded in this lifecycle. These results highlight the semi-cyclical hydrological behavior as a climate driver for wildfire variability in California. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Unprecedented heatwave-drought concurrences in the past two decades have been reported over inner East Asia. Tree-ring–based reconstructions of heatwaves and soil moisture for the past 260 years reveal an abrupt shift to hotter and drier climate over this region. Enhanced land-atmosphere coupling, associated with persistent soil moisture deficit, appears to intensify surface warming and anticyclonic circulation anomalies, fueling heatwaves that exacerbate soil drying. Our analysis demonstrates that the magnitude of the warm and dry anomalies compounding in the recent two decades is unprecedented over the quarter of a millennium, and this trend clearly exceeds the natural variability range. The “hockey stick”–like change warns that the warming and drying concurrence is potentially irreversible beyond a tipping point in the East Asian climate system. 
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  5. In recent years, a pair of large-scale circulation patterns consisting of an anomalous ridge over northwestern North America and trough over northeastern North America was found to accompany extreme winter weather events such as the 2013–2015 California drought and eastern U.S. cold outbreaks. Referred to as the North American winter dipole (NAWD), previous studies have found both a marked natural variability and a warming-induced amplification trend in the NAWD. In this study, we utilized multiple global reanalysis datasets and existing climate model simulations to examine the variability of the winter planetary wave patterns over North America and to better understand how it is likely to change in the future. We compared between pre- and post-1980 periods to identify changes to the circulation variations based on empirical analysis. It was found that the leading pattern of the winter planetary waves has changed, from the Pacific–North America (PNA) mode to a spatially shifted mode such as NAWD. Further, the potential influence of global warming on NAWD was examined using multiple climate model simulations. 
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  6. Abstract

    Climate warming in recent decades has negatively impacted forest health in the western United States. Here, we report on potential early warning signals (EWS) for drought‐related mortality derived from measurements of tree‐ring growth (ring width index; RWI) and carbon isotope discrimination (∆13C), primarily focused on ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa). Sampling was conducted in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, near the epicenter of drought severity and mortality associated with the 2012–2015 California drought and concurrent outbreak of western pine beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis). At this site, we found that widespread mortality was presaged by five decades of increasing sensitivity (i.e., increased explained variation) of both tree growth and ∆13C to Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). We hypothesized that increasing sensitivity of tree growth and ∆13C to hydroclimate constitute EWS that indicate an increased likelihood of widespread forest mortality caused by direct and indirect effects of drought. We then tested these EWS in additional ponderosa pine‐dominated forests that experienced varying mortality rates associated with the same California drought event. In general, drier sites showed increasing sensitivity of RWI to PDSI over the last century, as well as higher mortality following the California drought event compared to wetter sites. Two sites displayed evidence that thinning or fire events that reduced stand basal area effectively reversed the trend of increasing hydroclimate sensitivity. These comparisons indicate that reducing competition for soil water and/or decreasing bark beetle host tree density via forest management—particularly in drier regions—may buffer these forests against drought stress and associated mortality risk. EWS such as these could provide land managers more time to mitigate the extent or severity of forest mortality in advance of droughts. Substantial efforts at deploying additional dendrochronological research in concert with remote sensing and forest modeling will aid in forecasting of forest responses to continued climate warming.

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  7. Abstract

    We present a statistically robust reconstruction of Thailand's Chao Phraya River peak season streamflow (CPRPF) that spans the 202 years from 1804 to 2005 CE. Our reconstruction is based on tree ring δ18O series derived from threePinus merkusiisites from Laos and Thailand. The regional δ18O index accounts for 57% of the observed variance of CPRPF. Spatial correlation and 21‐year running correlation analyses reveal that CPRPF is greatly influenced by regional precipitation variations associated with the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Periods of enhanced and reduced ENSO activity are associated with strong and weak ENSO‐streamflow correlation, respectively. At the longer timescale, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) appears to modulate the ENSO‐streamflow correlations, with the most extreme flood events along the Chao Phraya River occurring during periods of increased frequency of La Niña events that coincide with extended cold phases of the PDO. The CPRPF reconstruction could aid management planning for Thailand's water resources.

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