85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005
Recent Trends in Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Cycle
Donglian Sun, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Recent Trends in Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Cycle

Menas Kafatos and Donglian Sun Center for Earth Observing and Space Research George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030

Water research is useful for better prediction of climate change, weather, and precipitation because it s the key process that links them all. Regional water parameters and their correlations with large-scale climate signals for the data-rich mid-Atlantic region are analyzed. Our results show that in the past 24 years (1980-2003) the mid-Atlantic region has become wetter. Winter snow in the mid-Atlantic region is found to increase at a rate of 2.47 inches/decade, beginning with 1995, winter snowfall has been above normal during recent La Niņa and neutral ENSO (El Niņo and Southern Oscillation) years (1995-1996, 2000, and 2003). Annual precipitation has increased at a rate of 2.29 inches/decade. Annual river runoff has been increasing at a rate of 0.22 kg/m2 per decade, with higher rates during the El Niņo years. These results show that ENSO has some impacts on the hydrology of the mid-Atlantic region. Surface soil moisture shows slight increasing trend (0.33 mm/decade). Evapotranspiration deficit (ETD) (difference between potential and actual evaportranspiration) has decreased. This means actual evaportranspiration, as well as precipitation and river runoff, have increased, thus the regional water cycle has been enhanced.

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