Southwest Climate, the Westerly Winds and Climate Model Projections

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Summer School on Global Sustainability

Climate projections for the Southwest are essential for residents, politicians, engineers, and planners. Will we get more winter rain or less? Will our monsoon get stronger or weaker? How hot will it get? The latest round of coupled climate model projections prepared for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are widely varying, but some general conclusions can be drawn. In particular, as the westerly winds move poleward, they are moving away the winter storms that are a critical source of water to the Southwest, so improving the global climate models’ ability to simulate the westerly jet has become critical to the discovery of the links between global climate change and Southwest impacts. We will discuss the integration of global and regional models of Southwest climate.