S208 Does Climate Change Vary with Elevation in the Northeastern United States?

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Stephanie van Oppen, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, NJ; and J. R. Miller

During the last several decades, research has shown that many, but not all, high-elevation regions have been warming at faster rates than their lower elevation surroundings.  Data are often too sparse at high elevations to definitively resolve whether warming rates vary with elevation. Most global studies to date have been done at the highest elevations (above 2000m). The objective of this research is to determine whether there is evidence of elevated rates of climate change in the Appalachian Mountain region of the eastern United States where elevations are generally below 2000m. Monthly data for the last 65 years are obtained from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) website for four low-elevation stations (approximately 100m) and four high-elevation stations (above 500 meters) in the northeastern United States. Regression and statistical analyses are used to examine the long-term trends and variations of monthly precipitation and mean, minimum, and maximum temperatures. Although there is significant variability in the trends at different sites, the ensemble of eight stations shows warming during the last six decades. The relationship between warming rates and elevation is examined. Future research will include a seasonal analysis that includes the role of other climate variables as well as expanding southward to include more of the Appalachian Mountain region. 
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