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    Santa Ana winds (SAW) are synoptically driven mesoscale winds observed in Southern California usually during late fall and winter. Because of the complex topography of the region, SAW episodes can sometimes be extremely intense and pose significant environmental hazards, especially during wildfire incidents. A simple set of criteria was used to identify synoptic-scale conditions associated with SAW events in the NCEP–Department of Energy (DOE) reanalysis. SAW events start in late summer and early fall, peak in December–January, and decrease by early spring. The typical duration of SAW conditions is 1–3 days, although extreme cases can last more than 5 days. SAW events exhibit large interannual variations and possible mechanisms responsible for trends and low-frequency variations need further study. A climate run of the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) model showed good agreement and generally small differences with the observed climatological characteristics of SAW conditions.

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    Jones, Charles; Fujioka, Francis; Carvalho, Leila M.V. 2010. Forecast skill of synoptic conditions associated with Santa Ana winds in Southern California. Monthly Weather Review, 138:2253-2280.


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    wildfires, wind, forecasting, climate models, synoptic-scale processes

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