California heat waves: their spatial evolution, variation, and coastal modulation by low clouds

TitleCalifornia heat waves: their spatial evolution, variation, and coastal modulation by low clouds
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsClemesha R.ES, Guirguis K., Gershunov A, Small I.J, Tardy A.
JournalClimate Dynamics
Date Published2018/06
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0930-7575
Accession NumberWOS:000432597400019
Keywordscoastal climate; events; Heat waves; Low clouds; marine layer; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences; sea-surface temperature; summer low cloudiness; united-states; variability; west-coast

We examine the spatial and temporal evolution of heat waves through California and consider one of the key modulating factors of summertime coastal climate-coastal low cloudiness (CLC). Heat waves are defined relative to daytime maximum temperature (T-max) anomalies after removing local seasonality and capture unseasonably warm events during May-September. California is home to several diverse climate regions and characteristics of extreme heat events are also variable throughout these regions. Heat wave events tend to be shorter, but more anomalously intense along the coast. Heat waves typically impact both coastal and inland regions, although there is more propensity towards coastally trapped events. Most heat waves with a strong impact across regions start at the coast, proceed inland, and weaken at the coast before letting up inland. Typically, the beginning of coastal heat waves are associated with a loss of CLC, followed by a strong rebound of CLC starting close to the peak in heat wave intensity. The degree to which an inland heat wave is expressed at the coast is associated with the presence of these low clouds. Inland heat waves that have very little expression at the coast tend to have CLC present and an elevated inversion base height compared with other heat waves.

Short TitleClim. Dyn.
Student Publication: