How the West Was Warmed

Martin Hoerling
Climate Diagnostics Center

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Is it getting warmer in the West? To be sure, the summer of 2005 was a hot one, with Denver eclipsing several daily high temperature records, that date since the late 19th Century. But is this part of a physical climate trend, or are other processes at play like urbanization? The West has emerged as an epicenter for warming within North America as a whole, and one wonders if this is a sign of things to come or due merely to the vagaries of weather patterns.

The talk will explore the last 100+ years of the climate record to survey the behavior of global surface temperatures, and then telescope to the western United States. The talk specifically addrssses the attributable cause(s) for the West's warmth during the early years of our New Millenium. We will diagnose whether a "smoking gun" culprit-----in the form of increasing greenhouse gases-----is playing a material role . A focus will be on the physical processes that could explain how increasing greenhouse gases favor an epicenter for warming in the West.

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12 October 2005
2 PM/ DSRC 1D 403
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