20th Conference on Probability and Statistics in the Atmospheric Sciences


Cooling of maximum temperatures in coastal California air basins during 1969–2005: monthly and extreme value trends

Allison Charland, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; and B. Lebassi, J. Gonzalez, and R. Bornstein

Analysis of long-term (1969-2005) air temperatures in California (CA) during summer (June-August) previously showed an aggregate CA asymmetric warming, as daily minimum temperatures increased faster than daily maximum values Tmax. The spatial distributions of daily Tmax temperatures in the heavily urbanized South Coast and San Francisco Bay Area air basins were more complex pattern, with cooling at low-elevation coastal-areas and warming at inland areas. Our hypothesis was that this temperature pattern arose from a “reverse-reaction” to greenhouse gas induced global-warming, in that the global warming of inland areas resulted in an increased (cooling) sea breeze activity in coastal areas. These results appeared in the July 2009 issue of the J. of Climate.

Extension of this analysis over the entire year now shows that the cooling trend in average Tmax values occurred during most months, with warming trends only during winter months. The largest rate of cooling, however, occurred in June (-0.95 K/decade), indicating that an earlier initiation of sea breeze activity may be the most important cooling factor, relative to increases in its intensity, duration, and/or penetration. Possible beneficial effects of the cooling were discussed (e.g., decreased maximum O3 and human thermal-stress levels), but as these impact would occur during periods of maximum Tmax values, the previous analysis was thus expanded to includes trends in the frequency of high Tmax values, i.e., 85, 90, 95, and 100oF. Results showed that all of these frequencies were decreasing, with rates decreasing with Tmax value (from -0.27 to -0.04 days/year, respectively). While this result is expected, as the frequency of occurrence decreases with Tmax value (from about 50 to about 3 per year, respectively), the percent decrease in frequency showed the opposite results, i.e., it was largest with the highest Tmax value (from -0.57 to -1.57 %/year, respectively). In addition, the rate of decrease of annual Tmax values was -0.62 K/decade. These results thus show that coastal cooling should in fact reduce the frequency and severity of high O3 and thermal stress events.

Recorded presentation

Session 3, Extreme events in weather, water and climate
Tuesday, 19 January 2010, 11:00 AM-12:00 PM, B305

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