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Climate Extremes and Variability Surrounding Chesapeake Bay: Past, Present, and Future
Journal of the American Water Resources Association  (IF3.202),  Pub Date : 2021-08-21, DOI: 10.1111/1752-1688.12945
Kari A. St.Laurent, Victoria J. Coles, Raleigh R. Hood

Measures of extreme climate variability around Chesapeake Bay have changed over the past century (1895–2014), resulting in the need to establish new baselines for understanding future change. Here, observed climate variability is compared with Coupled Model Intercomparison Project fifth assessment climate models to evaluate ensemble model skill in this region. Observed trends include annual and seasonal declines in the percentage of cold days. Similarly, increases in the annual and seasonal percentages of warm days occurred in all seasons of the North Chesapeake (>38.2°N) but were only significant in spring and summer in the South (<38.2°N) demonstrating regional differences even at local scales. Precipitation intensity increased over the past century. Models using emissions scenarios RCP4.5 and 8.5 project these trends will continue, though they have little skill in precipitation extremes. Pacific and Atlantic climate modes are generally more correlated with climate extremes than mean temperature and precipitation suggesting potential predictability in the synoptic patterns underlying the extremes. However, they also drive the need for time series at least 60-years long for establishing climate trends. This local analysis differs from regional, state level, and local 2.5° × 3.75° grid analyses, highlighting the importance of local climate assessments that consider topographic and regional weather patterns.