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Future changes in the distribution of daily precipitation totals across North America.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Rob L. Wilby
  • T. M. L. Wigley
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Geophysical Research Letters
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1135
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Shape and scale parameters of the two-parameter gamma distribution were estimated for daily distributions of precipitation at individual grid-points in two General Circulation Models (HadCM2 and CSM). Maps of changing parameter distributions under anthropogenic forcing show the extent to which future precipitation scenarios for North America are consistent with observed trends in the 20th century. The scale parameter is found to be more variable, both spatially and temporally, than the shape parameter. Patterns of changes in mean wet-day amounts are strongly correlated with changes in the scale parameter. While the two models show quite different results for the spatial patterns of change, both indicate that the proportion of total precipitation derived from extreme and heavy events will continue to increase relative to moderate and light precipitation events.

Bibliographic note

This paper investigates the consistency between observed and climate model projections of extreme daily rainfall across North America. In line with historic trends, it is shown that the proportion of total rainfall contributed by heavy downpours is expected to increase with concomitant implications for flood risk management. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences