Comment on "Methodology and results of calculating Central California surface temperature trends: evidence of human-induced climate change?" by Christy et al. (2006)

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Understanding the causes of observed regional temperature trends is essential to projecting the human influences on climate, and the societal impacts of these influences. In their recent study, Christy et al. (2006, hereinafter CRNG06) hypothesized that the presence of irrigated soils is responsible for rapid warming of summer nights occurring in California's Central Valley over the last century (1910-2003), an assumption that rules out any significant effect due to increased greenhouse gases, urbanization, or other factors in this region. We question this interpretation, which is based on an apparent contrast in summer nighttime temperature trends between the San Joaquin Valley ... continued below

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Bonfils, C; Duffy, P & Lobell, D March 28, 2006.

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Understanding the causes of observed regional temperature trends is essential to projecting the human influences on climate, and the societal impacts of these influences. In their recent study, Christy et al. (2006, hereinafter CRNG06) hypothesized that the presence of irrigated soils is responsible for rapid warming of summer nights occurring in California's Central Valley over the last century (1910-2003), an assumption that rules out any significant effect due to increased greenhouse gases, urbanization, or other factors in this region. We question this interpretation, which is based on an apparent contrast in summer nighttime temperature trends between the San Joaquin Valley ({approx} +0.3 {+-} 0.1 C/decade) and the adjacent western slopes of the Sierra Nevada (-0.25 {+-} 0.15 C/decade), as well as the amplitude, sign and uncertainty of the Sierra nighttime temperature trend itself. We, however, do not dispute the finding of other Sierra and Valley trends. Regarding the veracity of the apparent Sierra nighttime temperature trend, CRNG06 generated the Valley and Sierra time-series using a meticulous procedure that eliminates discontinuities and isolates homogeneous segments in temperature records from 41 weather stations. This procedure yields an apparent cooling of about -0.25 {+-} 0.15 C/decade in the Sierra region. However, because removal of one of the 137 Sierra segments, from the most elevated site (Huntington Lake, 2140m), causes an increase in nighttime temperature trend as large as the trend itself (of +0.25 C/decade, CH06), and leads to a zero trend, the apparent cooling of summer nights in the Sierra regions seems, in fact, largely uncertain.

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PDF-file: 13 pages; size: 0.2 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Journal of Climate, vol. 20, no. 17, September 1, 2007, pp. 4486?4489; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 17

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-220200
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936494
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc896704

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  • March 28, 2006

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 10:49 p.m.

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Bonfils, C; Duffy, P & Lobell, D. Comment on "Methodology and results of calculating Central California surface temperature trends: evidence of human-induced climate change?" by Christy et al. (2006), article, March 28, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc896704/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.