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Browse publications gathered by the California Energy Commission that focus on climate change issues relevant to the State of California. Find both PIER research papers as well as relevant articles published in peer reviewed journals.

Publications Published in 2001

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  1. Agroforestry is Promising for Previously Cleared Hardwood Rangelands. McCreary, Doug.
    California Agriculture: 2001
    Livestock grazing is the primary economic use of most hardwood rangelands in the coastal foothills of California. But owners of these lands may be able to increase revenues by simultaneously producing two crops, trees and sheep. In 1993, we initiated an agroforestry project at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center to study the ability of three pine species and one hybrid to grow on cleared hardwood rangelands that are grazed by sheep. This study also evaluated the response of planted seedlings to auger and fertilization treatments. After 8 years, tree survival has been high, growth has been vigorous and damage from sheep minimal. Monterey pine and KMX pine, a cross between Monterey and knobcone pine, had the most growth. These results suggest that some pine species are promising for planting on grazing lands in coastal foothills where oaks and other hardwoods have been removed.

  2. A nested modeling study of elevation-dependent climate change signals in California induced by increased atmospheric CO2. Kim, Jinwon.
    Geophysical Research Letters: 2001
    Dynamically downscaled climate change signals due to increased atmospheric CO2 are investigated for three California basins. The downscaled signals show strong elevation dependence, mainly due to elevated freezing levels in the increased CO2 climate. Below 2.5 km, rainfall increases by over 150% while snowfall decreases by 20-40% in the winter. Above 2.5 km, rainfall and snowfall both increase in the winter, as the freezing levels appear mostly below this level. Winter snowmelt increases in all elevations due to warmer temperatures in the increased CO2 climate. Reduced snowfall and enhanced snowmelt during the winter decreases snowmelt-driven spring runoff below the 2.5 km level, where the peak snowmelt occurs one month earlier in the increased CO2 climate. Above 2.5km, increased winter snowfall maintains snowmelt-driven runoff through most of the warm season.

  3. An integrated modeling system for environmental impact analysis of climate variability and extreme weather events in the San Joaquin Basin, California. Quinn, N. W. T.; Miller, N. L.; Dracup, J. A.; Brekke, L. & Grober, L. F..
    Advances in Environmental Research: 2001
    This collaborative research project has two main objectives: to assess the vulnerability of water supply, water demand, water quality, ecosystem health and socioeconomic welfare within the San Joaquin River Basin as a function of climate variability and extreme weather events; and to provide guidance in the formulation of effective management strategies to mitigate the range of potential impacts due to climate variability and extreme weather. The project involves updating and advancing previous studies on climate change in California. Climate data are based on new Global Circulation Model output from the statistical downscaling that converts GCM climate forecasts into local weather forecasts. The project applies these climate data to perturb an existing 72-year historical hydrologic time series of the San Joaquin Basin to develop an integrated impacts analysis of climate change/variability on the water, economic and social resources of the Basin. Previous studies focused only on water resource impacts. A decision support system (DSS) is under development that will provide assistance to CALFED (a joint California State and Federal program designed to resolve water issues in the Bay-Delta) in water resource and ecosystem management of the San Joaquin Basin.

  4. Assessment of Folsom Lake response to historical and potential future climate scenarios: 1. Forecasting. Carpenter, Theresa M. & Georgakakos, Konstantine P..
    Journal of Hydrology: 2001
    DOI: 10.1016/S0022-1694(01)00417-6
    In collaboration with operational forecast and management Agencies, an integrated forecast-control system is designed and applied to a major reservoir in California to evaluate the potential benefits of climate information for flood control, hydroelectric energy production, and low flow augmentation. In addition to retrospective studies involving the historical period 1964-1993, system simulations were performed for the future period 2001-2030, under a control and a 1% greenhouse-gas-increase scenario. This paper presents the forecast component formulation and validates ensemble 30-day reservoir-inflow forecasts under a variety of situations. The control component formulation and corresponding reservoir management results are presented in Yao and Georgakakos, this issue. The forecast component is based on ensemble flow forecasting. Quantiles of the distribution of climate-model precipitation simulations are used to select catchment-scale historical daily precipitation time series for the generation of an ensemble of daily reservoir-inflow by hydrologic models. Ensemble generation takes into consideration both atmospheric-forcing and hydrologic-model uncertainties. Principal conclusions of this paper are that the integrated system provides reliable ensemble inflow volume forecasts for the majority of the deciles of forecast frequency, and that the use of climate model simulations is beneficial mainly during high flow periods. It is also found that to maintain reliability for future climate periods, generation of ensemble inflow forecasts should use input time series that reflect potential sharp changes in precipitation amount.

  5. Assessment of Folsom Lake response to historical and potential future climate scenarios 2. Reservoir management. Yao, H. & Georgakakos, A..
    Journal of Hydrology: 2001
    An integrated forecast-decision system for Folsom Lak, (California) is developed and used to assess the sensitivity of reservoir performance to various forecast-management schemes under historical and future climate scenarios. The assessments are based on various combinations of inflow forecasting models, decision rules, and climate scenarios. The inflow forecasting options include operational forecasts, historical analog ensemble forecasts, hydrologic ensemble forecasts, GCM-conditioned hydrologic ensemble forecasts, and perfect forecasts. Reservoir management is based on either heuristic rule curves or a decision system which includes three coupled models pertinent to turbine load dispatching, short-range energy generation scheduling, and long/mid-range reservoir management. The climate scenarios are based on historical inflow realizations, potential inflow realizations generated by General Circulation Models assuming no CO2 increase, and potential inflow realizations assuming 1% CO, annual increase. The study demonstrates that (1) reliable inflow forecasts and adaptive decision systems can substantially benefit reservoir performance and (2) dynamic operational procedures can be effective climate change coping strategies.

  6. Asymmetric warming over coastal California and its impact on the premium wine industry. Nemani, R. R.; White, M. A.; Cayan, D. R.; Jones, G. V.; Running, S. W.; Coughlan, J. C. & Peterson, D. L..
    Climate Research: 2001
    Climatic changes over coastal California from 1951 to 1997 may have benefited the premium wine industry, as seen in higher quality wines and larger grape yields. Observed temperature warming trends were asymmetric, with greatest warming at night and during spring. Warming was associated with large increases in eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SST) and amounts of atmospheric water vapor. Although the average annual temperature warming trend was modest (1.13degreesC/47 yr), there was a 20 d reduction in frost occurrence and a 65 d increase in frost-free growing season length. In the Napa and Sonoma valleys, warmer winter and spring temperatures advanced the start of the growing season by 18 to 24 d, and enhanced atmospheric water vapor resulted in a 7% reduction in evaporative demand. Given the strong coupling between Pacific SSTs and the coastal California climate, and because regional-scale SSTs persist for 6 to 12 mo, additional research may allow the possibility of predicting vintage quantity and quality from previous winter conditions.

  7. Causes and extent of declines among native North American invertebrate pollinators: Detection, evidence, and consequences. Cane, J. H. & Tepedino, V. J..
    Ecology and Society: 2001
    Ecosystem health and agricultural wealth in North America depend on a particular invertebrate fauna to deliver pollination services. Extensive losses in pollinator guilds and communities can disrupt ecosystem integrity, a circumstance that today forces most farmers to rely on honey bees for much fruit and seed production. Are North America's invertebrate pollinator faunas already widely diminished or currently threatened by human activities? How would we know, what are the spatiotemporal scales for detection, and which anthropogenic factors are responsible? Answers to these questions were considered by participants in a workshop sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in October of 1999, and these questions form the nucleus for the papers in this special issue. Several contributors critically interpret the evidence for declines of bee and fly pollinators, the pollination deficits that should ensue, and their economic costs.

  8. Changes in the onset of spring in the western United States. Cayan, D. R.; Kammerdiener, S. A.; Dettinger, M. D.; Caprio, J. M. & Peterson, D. H..
    Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: 2001<0399:CITOOS>2.3.CO;2
    DOI: 10.1175/1520-0477(2001)082<0399:CITOOS>2.3.CO;2
    Fluctuations in spring climate in the western United States over the last 4-5 decades are described by examining changes in the blooming of plants and the timing of snowmelt-runoff pulses. The two measures of spring's onset that are employed are the timing of first bloom of lilac and honeysuckle bushes from a long-term cooperative phenological network, and the timing of the first major pulse of snowmelt recorded from high-elevation streams. Both measures contain year-to-year fluctuations, with typical year-to year fluctuations at a given site of one to three weeks. These fluctuations are spatially coherent, forming regional patterns that cover most of the west. Fluctuations in lilac first bloom dates are highly correlated to those of honeysuckle, and both are significantly correlated with those of the spring snowmelt pulse. Each of these measures, then, probably respond to a common mechanism. Various analyses indicate that anomalous temperature exerts the greatest influence upon both interannual and secular changes in the onset of spring in these networks. Earlier spring onsets since the late 1970s are a remarkable feature of the records, and reflect the unusual spell of warmer-than-normal springs in western North America during this period. The warm episodes are clearly related to larger-scale atmospheric conditions across North America and the North Pacific, but whether this is predominantly an expression of natural variability or also a symptom of global warming is not certain.

  9. Chemistry of fog waters in California's Central Valley- Part3: Concentrations and speciation of organic and inorganic nitrogen`. Zhang, Qi & Anastasio, Cort.
    Atmospheric Environment: 2001
    Although organic nitrogen (ON) has been found to be a ubiquitous and significant component in wet and dry deposition, almost nothing is known about its concentration or composition in fog waters. To address this gap, we have investigated the concentration and composition of ON in fog waters collected in Davis, in California's Central Valley. Significant quantities of dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) were found in these samples, with a median concentration of 303 μM N (range=120-1630 μM N). DON typically represented approximately 16% of the total dissolved nitrogen (inorganic+organic) in Davis fog waters. The median concentration of nitrogen in free amino acids and alkyl amines was 16 μM N (range=3.8-120 μM N), which accounted for 3.4% of the DON in Davis fogs. Thus, although the absolute concentrations of free amino compounds were significant, they were only a minor component of the DON pool. Combined amino nitrogen (e.g., proteins and peptides) was present at higher concentrations and accounted for 6.1-29% (median=16%) of DON. Overall, free and combined amino compounds typically accounted for a median value of 22% of DON in the fog waters.

  10. Climate change, reproductive performance and diet composition of marine birds in the Southern California Current system, 1969-1997. Sydeman, W. J.; Hester, M. M.; Thayer, J. A.; Gress, F.; Martin, P. & Buffa, J..
    Progress in Oceanography: 2001
    We studied the effects of low-frequency climate change on the reproductive performance of 11 species of marine bird in the southern California Current system, 1969-1997. Reproductive performance of Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) and Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocrax auritus) in southern California demonstrated an increase in the 1970s and early 1980s, attributable to recovery from organochlorine contamination (primarily DDE). Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) in central California was the only species to demonstrate a secular increase in performance through time, a pattern that remains unexplained. Ashy Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) and Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus) demonstrated curvilinear patterns of change, with decreasing reproductive performance in the past decade. All other species including Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba), Xantus's Murrelet (Synthiloboramphus hypoleucus), Common Murre (Uria aalge), Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) and Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) showed diminishing reproductive performance through time. Patterns of change for the murre and auklets were not significant, presumably because of a lack of reproductive variation for these species, which display a conservative breeding effort (i.e. single-egg clutches). Changes in the birds' abilities to provision young and maintain chick survival during May-July each year appeared most closely related to overall changes in reproductive performance. Dietary change indicated a decline in use of juvenile rockfish (Sebastes spp.) by marine birds in central California. There was also significant interannual variability in consumption of juvenile rockfish and the euphausiid Thysanoessa spinifera. Patterns of change in marine bird reproductive performance were generally concordant between southern and central California after considering the period of recovery for Brown Pelican and Double-crested Cormorant. The decline in reproductive performance and changes in diet composition do not appear directly related to the polarity reversal of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in 1976/1977. Instead, reproductive performance and dietary characteristics indicate substantial change in the late 1980s, suggesting another regime-shift at that time.

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