Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Jha, Manoj K.

Abstract

Climatic trends in spatial and temporal variability of maximum temperature (Tmax), minimum temperature (Tmin), mean temperature (Tmean) and precipitation were evaluated for 249 ground-based stations in North Carolina for 1950-2009. The Mann-Kendall (MK), the Theil-Sen Approach (TSA) and the Sequential Mann-Kendall (SQMK) tests were applied to quantify the significance of trend, magnitude of trend and the trend shift, respectively. The lag-1 serial correlation and double mass curve techniques were used to address the data independency and homogeneity. The pre-whitening technique was used to eliminate the effect of auto correlation of the data series. The difference between minimum and maximum temperatures, and so the diurnal temperature range (DTR), at some stations was found to be decreasing on both an annual and a seasonal basis, with an overall increasing trend in the mean temperature. For precipitation, a statewide increasing trend in fall (highest in November) and decreasing trend in winter (highest in February) were detected. No pronounced increasing/decreasing trends were detected in annual, spring, and summer precipitation time series. Trend analysis on a spatial scale (for three physiographic regions: mountain, piedmont and coastal) revealed mixed results. Coastal zone exhibited increasing mean temperature (warming) trend as compared to other locations whereas mountain zone showed decreasing trend (cooling). Three main moisture components (precipitation, total cloud cover, and soil moisture) and the two major atmospheric circulation modes (North Atlantic Oscillation and Southern Oscillation) were used for correlative analysis purposes with the temperature (specifically with DTR) and precipitation trends. It appears that the moisture components are associated with DTR more than the circulation modes in North Carolina.

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