Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Hydroclimatology of Western Canada -- Review and Prospects

Whitfield, Paul H.; Moore, R. D.; Fleming, Sean W.; Zawadzki, Alexi
March 2010
Canadian Water Resources Journal/Revue Canadienne des Ressources;Spring2010, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a large-scale climate system feature that influences the surface climate and hydrology of western North America. In this paper, we review the literature describing the PDO and demonstrate its effects on temperature, precipitation, snowfall, glacier mass balance, and streamflow with a focus on western Canada, and particularly British Columbia. We review how the PDO index was developed and discuss other North Pacific climate patterns that resemble the PDO. The impacts of PDO on glacier mass balance and streamflow from retrospective studies are also reviewed and illustrated with specific examples from BC. We assess the current state of knowledge regarding the PDO and provide a critical assessment of its use in hydroclimatology. This information should provide insight on the sensitivity of projects to climatic variability.


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