Significantly increased extreme precipitation expected in Europe and North America from extratropical cyclones

Article


Hawcroft, Matt, Walsh, Ella, Hodges, Kevin and Zappa, Giuseppe. 2018. "Significantly increased extreme precipitation expected in Europe and North America from extratropical cyclones." Environmental Research Letters. 13 (12), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaed59
Article Title

Significantly increased extreme precipitation expected in Europe and North America from extratropical cyclones

ERA Journal ID36365
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsHawcroft, Matt (Author), Walsh, Ella (Author), Hodges, Kevin (Author) and Zappa, Giuseppe (Author)
Journal TitleEnvironmental Research Letters
Journal Citation13 (12), pp. 1-9
Article Number124006
Number of Pages9
Year2018
PublisherIOP Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1748-9326
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaed59
Web Address (URL)https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aaed59
Abstract

For the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, changes in the mid-latitude storm tracks are key to understanding the impacts of climate warming, but projections of their future location in current climate models are affected by large uncertainty. Here, we show that in spite of this uncertainty in the atmospheric circulation response to warming, by analysing the behaviour of the storms (or extratropical cyclones) themselves, projections of change in the number of the most intensely precipitating extratropical cyclones are substantial and consistent across models. In particular, we show large increases in the frequency of extreme extratropical cyclones (those above the present day 99th percentile of precipitation intensity) by the end of the century. In both Europe and North America, these intensely precipitating extratropical cyclones are projected to more than triple in number by the end of the century unless greenhouse gas emissions are mitigated. Such changes in extratropical cyclone behaviour may have major impacts on society given intensely precipitating extratropical cyclones are responsible for many large-scale flooding events, and associated severe economic losses, in these regions.

Keywordsclimate; climate change; climate impacts; climate models; CMIP5; precipitation; gas emissions; greenhouse gases; losses; precipitation (chemical); precipitation (meteorology); storms; uncertainty analysis; atmospheric circulation; extratropical cyclones; extreme precipitation; Northern Hemispheres; precipitation intensity
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020370108. Meteorology
370202. Climatology
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Exeter, United Kingdom
University of Reading, United Kingdom
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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