Precipitation Extremes Under Climate Change
Author(s)O’Gorman, Paul A.
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The response of precipitation extremes to climate change is considered using results from theory, modeling, and observations, with a focus on the physical factors that control the response. Observations and simulations with climate models show that precipitation extremes intensify in response to a warming climate. However, the sensitivity of precipitation extremes to warming remains uncertain when convection is important, and it may be higher in the tropics than the extratropics. Several physical contributions govern the response of precipitation extremes. The thermodynamic contribution is robust and well understood, but theoretical understanding of the microphysical and dynamical contributions is still being developed. Orographic precipitation extremes and snowfall extremes respond differently from other precipitation extremes and require particular attention. Outstanding research challenges include the influence of mesoscale convective organization, the dependence on the duration considered, and the need to better constrain the sensitivity of tropical precipitation extremes to warming.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
Current Climate Change Reports
Springer International Publishing
O’Gorman, Paul A. “Precipitation Extremes Under Climate Change.” Curr Clim Change Rep 1, no. 2 (April 22, 2015): 49–59.
Final published version