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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-122
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-122
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Mar 2020

24 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Technical note: Precipitation phase partitioning at landscape-to-regional scales

Elissa Lynn1, Aaron Cuthbertson1, Minxue He1, Jordi P. Vasquez1, Michael L. Anderson1, Peter Coombe1, John T. Abatzoglou2, and Benjamin J. Hatchett3 Elissa Lynn et al.
  • 1California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, California, 95814, USA
  • 2University of California, Merced, Merced, California, 95340, USA
  • 3Western Regional Climate Center, Reno, Nevada, 89512, USA

Abstract. Water management throughout the western United States largely relies on the partitioning of cool season mountain precipitation into rain and snow that helps determine water storage in spring snowpack. Recent studies indicate a shift towards increased precipitation falling as rain, consistent with a warming climate. An approach is presented to estimate precipitation partitioning across landscapes from 1948–present by combining fine scale gridded precipitation data with coarse scale freezing-level and precipitation data from an atmospheric reanalysis. A marriage of these datasets allows for a new approach to estimate spatial patterns and trends in precipitation partitioning over elevational and latitudinal gradients in major water supply basins. This product can be used in California as a diagnostic indicator of changing precipitation phase across mountain watersheds. Results show the largest increases in precipitation falling as rain during the past seven decades in lower elevation watersheds located within the climatological rain-snow transition regions of northern California during spring. Further development of the indicator can inform adaptive water management strategy development and implementation in the face of a changing climate.

Elissa Lynn et al.

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Elissa Lynn et al.

Elissa Lynn et al.

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Short summary
Precipitation partitioning across western US landscapes from 1948–present is estimated by combining gridded precipitation data with freezing level and precipitation data from an atmospheric reanalysis. Spatial patterns and trends in precipitation phase over elevational and latitudinal gradients are examined. The largest increases in precipitation falling as rain occur during spring. This technique can be used as a diagnostic indicator to inform adaptive water management strategy development.
Precipitation partitioning across western US landscapes from 1948–present is estimated by...
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