Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Volume 128, Issue 6
- Anthology ID:
- American Geophysical Union (AGU)
The Occurrence of Near‐0°C Surface Air Temperatures in the Current and Pseudo‐Global Warming Future Over Southern Canada
Ronald E. Stewart | Z. Liu | Julie M. Thériault | C. J. Ruman | Ronald E. Stewart | Z. Liu | Julie M. Thériault | C. J. Ruman
Abstract Temperatures near 0°C represent a critical threshold for many environmental processes and socio‐economic activities. This study examines surface air temperatures ( T ) near 0°C (−2°C ≤ T ≤ 2°C) across much of southern Canada over a 13 year period (October 2000–September 2013). It utilized hourly data from 39 weather stations and from 4‐km resolution Weather Research and Forecasting model simulations that were both a retrospective simulation as well as a pseudo‐global warming simulation applicable near the end of the 21st century. Average annual occurrences of near‐0°C conditions increase by a relatively small amount of 5.1% from 985 hr in the current climate to 1,035 hr within the future one. Near‐0°C occurrences with precipitation vary from <5% to approximately 50% of these values. Near‐0°C occurrences are sometimes higher than values of neighboring temperatures. These near‐0°C peaks in temperature distributions can occur in both the current and future climate, in only one, or in neither. Only 4.3% of southern Canada is not associated with a near‐0°C peak and 65.8% is associated with a near‐0°C peak in both climates. It is inferred that latent heat exchanges from the melting and freezing of, for example, precipitation and the snowpack contribute significantly to some of these findings.