Statistically linking extreme precipitation to global warming

Sep 24, 2013

Extreme rainfall can have serious effects on societies and ecosystems. Increases in extreme precipitation events are predicted to occur as Earth's climate warms, in part because warmer air has greater capacity to hold moisture, leading to more precipitation in a warmer climate. However, directly attributing changes in rainfall to global warming is difficult because climate models have limited precisions and because extreme events are rare and occur at irregular intervals.

To put that link on firmer footing, Benestad used a statistical analysis to determine whether extreme precipitation is related to global mean temperatures. The author used an empirical relationship, showing that daily rainfall amounts follow an exponential distribution, to determine that slow variations in the observed heavy precipitation events (the wet day 95th percentile) on a global scale follow the changes in the global mean temperature.

Using this relationship, the author conducted a multiple regression analysis on data and global surface air temperature data to show statistically that recent trends in wet day 95th percentile precipitation amounts are influenced by global mean temperatures.

Explore further: Atmospheric rivers linked to severe precipitation in Western Europe

More information: Association between trends in daily rainfall percentiles and the global mean temperature, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50814, 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jgrd.50814/abstract

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User comments : 6

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Kiwini
1.5 / 5 (17) Sep 24, 2013
"Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

- from Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review
Howhot
2.9 / 5 (8) Sep 24, 2013
Kiwini says;
Figures often beguile me
Yes they do. Yep, you are so beguiled it flusters the mind!
Kiwini
1.6 / 5 (13) Sep 24, 2013
Kiwini says;
Figures often beguile me
Yes they do. Yep, you are so beguiled it flusters the mind!


Fyi- those were Mark Twain's words, not mine.

You wouldn't recognize wisdom if it slapped you in the face.

Birger
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 25, 2013
"show statistically that recent trends in wet day 95th percentile precipitation amounts are influenced by global mean temperatures."

Suggestion: Only those who know enough statistics to understand the sentence get to comment. And criticize interpreations, not persons or this thread will become a shouting contest fast.
Howhot
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 26, 2013
Fyi- those were Mark Twain's words, not mine.

You wouldn't recognize wisdom if it slapped you in the face.

Ahh you are so so wrong. Wisdom has slapped me in the face way too many times. In fact, it came close to breaking my jaw once!

Howhot
3.3 / 5 (7) Sep 26, 2013
@Birger says:
"show statistically that recent trends in wet day 95th percentile precipitation amounts are influenced by global mean temperatures."

Suggestion: Only those who know enough statistics to understand the sentence get to comment. And criticize interpreations, not persons or this thread will become a shouting contest fast.


Translation; the amount of precipitation received during rainy seasons to 95% is correlated with global mean temperature. With global warming increasing the mean temp, precipitation amounts are expect to increase as well.

What he's referring to are areas that have seasonal monsoons or rain seasons. Those areas are being impacted by global warming putting more water vapor in the air before condensing to precipitation.