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Title: Atmospheric/oceanic influence on climate in the southern Appalachians

Author: Riedel, Mark S.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Secondary Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, May 16-18, 2006. 7 p.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Despite a wealth of research, scientists still disagree about the existence, magnitude, duration and potential causes of global warming and climate change. For example, only recently have we recognized that, given historical global climate patterns, much of the global warming trend we are experiencing appears to be natural. We analyzed long-term climatologic records from Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (1934 to present). There is strong annular and decadal cycling in temperatures and rainfall patterns. These are confounded by a significant amount of natural climatic variability in the southern Appalachians. The natural variability is closely linked to fluctuations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). For example, the record drought in the southeastern United States, while extreme, was not unusual given historical patterns of alternating wet and dry cycles. These cycles are characteristically precluded by phase shifts in the NAO. The breaking of the drought by Hurricane Isidore and Tropical Storm Kyle (Sept. 2002) was also consistent with past drought cessation in this region. Apparent trends toward cooler and wetter conditions for this region are consistent with observed behavior in the NAO. While the highly variable nature of climate in this region makes it difficult to identify climate trends, nighttime temperatures (minimum daily) have increased over the past fifty years.

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Riedel, Mark S. 2006. Atmospheric/oceanic influence on climate in the southern Appalachians. In: Secondary Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds, May 16-18, 2006. 7 p.


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