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Westra S.,University of Adelaide | Alexander L.V.,Climate Change Research Center | Alexander L.V.,University of New South Wales | Zwiers F.W.,University of Victoria
Journal of Climate | Year: 2013

This study investigates the presence of trends in annual maximum daily precipitation time series obtained from a global dataset of 8326 high-quality land-based observing stations with more than 30 years of record over the period from 1900 to 2009. Two complementary statistical techniques were adopted to evaluate the possible nonstationary behavior of these precipitation data. The first was a Mann-Kendall nonparametric trend test, and it was used to evaluate the existence of monotonic trends. The second was a nonstationary generalized extreme value analysis, and it was used to determine the strength of association between the precipitation extremes and globally averaged near-surface temperature. The outcomes are that statistically significant increasing trends can be detected at the global scale, with close to two-thirds of stations showing increases. Furthermore, there is a statistically significant association with globally averaged near-surface temperature, with the median intensity of extreme precipitation changing in proportion with changes in global mean temperature at a rate of between 5.9% and 7.7%K-1, depending on the method of analysis. This ratio was robust irrespective of record length or time period considered and was not strongly biased by the uneven global coverage of precipitation data. Finally, there is a distinct meridional variation, with the greatest sensitivity occurring in the tropics and higher latitudes and the minima around 13°S and 11°N. The greatest uncertainty was near the equator because of the limited number of sufficiently long precipitation records, and there remains an urgent need to improve data collection in this region to better constrain future changes in tropical precipitation. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

Sun Y.,CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics | Sun Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Zhou T.,Climate Change Research Center
Journal of Climate | Year: 2014

Analyses of 30-yr four reanalysis datasets [NCEP-NCAR reanalysis (NCEP1), NCEP-Department of Energy reanalysis (NCEP2), Japanese 25-year Reanalysis Project (JRA-25), and Interim ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-Interim)] reveal remarkably interannual variability of the Hadley circulation (HC) in boreal summer (June-August). The two leading modes of interannual variability of boreal summer HC are obtained by performing empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis on the mass streamfunction. A general intensification of boreal summer HC is seen in EOF-1 mode among NCEP1, NCEP2, and JRA-25 but the corresponding EOF-2 mode in ERA-Interim, while a weakened northern Hadley cell and remarkable regional variation of a southern Hadley cell are captured by the EOF-2 mode (from NCEP1, NCEP2, and JRA-25) and EOF-1 mode (from ERA-Interim), as evidenced by the enhanced (decreased) southern Hadley cell in the southern tropics (the northern tropics and southern subtropics). Both modes are driven by El Nĩno-like SST forcing in boreal summer, but are relevant to different phases of El Nĩno events. The EOF-1 (or EOF-2 derived from ERA-Interim) [EOF-2 (or EOF-1 derived from ERA-Interim)] mode is driven by SST anomalies in developing (decaying) El Nĩno summers. The interannual variations of the northern Hadley cell in both modes are driven by El Niño through modulating the interannual variations of the East Asian summer monsoon, while anomalous local Hadley circulation (LHC) in the regions 30°S-20°N, 110°E-180° and 30°S-20°N, 160°E-120°W in response to El Niño forcing largely determine the interannual variations of southern Hadley cell in both modes, respectively. The different behaviors of the southern Hadley cell between two leading modes can be well explained by the southward shift of the tropical heating center from north of 10°N in developing El Niño summers to south of 10°N in decaying El Niño summers.© 2014 American Meteorological Society.

Peirson W.,University of New South Wales | Shand T.,Tonkin and Taylor Ltd | Ruprecht J.,University of New South Wales | Guerry N.,University of New South Wales | And 3 more authors.
Proceedings of the Coastal Engineering Conference | Year: 2014

Coastal inundation has both potential marine and inland contributions. Using a suite of Global Circulation Models, their skill in representing the key fundamental coastal engineering design forcings (mean sea level pressure, wind and precipitation) has been quantified at the 20 year ARI. Skill is assessed by comparison with measured and assembled data along the temperate east Australian coast. Clear extreme distributions are available from GCM output which show no sign of saturation within the tails of extreme distributions. Extreme surface pressures and winds are comparable with the available data giving confidence to the coastal engineering community that GCMs provide data that is suitable for coastal engineering design. GCMs also provide much longer and more detailed data than is available from equivalent measured records. When changes under the A2 scenario are considered, the consensus of the models is that little change in 20 year extreme surface pressures and rainfall are anticipated over the next 100 years with an accompanying 10% decrease in design wind.

Evans J.P.,Climate Change Research Center | McCabe M.F.,University of New South Wales | McCabe M.F.,King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Climate Research | Year: 2013

Dynamically downscaling climate projections from global climate models (GCMs) for use in impacts and adaptation research has become a common practice in recent years. In this study, the CSIRO Mk3.5 GCM is downscaled using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) regional climate model (RCM) to medium (50 km) and high (10 km) resolution over southeast Australia. The influence of model resolution on the present-day (1985 to 2009) modelled regional climate and projected future (2075 to 2099) changes are examined for both mean climate and extreme precipitation characteristics. Increasing model resolution tended to improve the simulation of present day climate, with larger improvements in areas affected by mountains and coastlines. Examination of circumstances under which increasing the resolution decreased performance revealed an error in the GCM circulation, the effects of which had been masked by the coarse GCM topography. Resolution modifications to projected changes were largest in regions with strong topographic and coastline influences, and can be large enough to change the sign of the climate change projected by the GCM. Known physical mechanisms for these changes included orographic uplift and low-level blocking of air-masses caused by mountains. In terms of precipitation extremes, the GCM projects increases in extremes even when the projected change in the mean was a decrease: but this was not always true for the higher resolution models. Thus, while the higher resolution RCM climate projections often concur with the GCM projections, there are times and places where they differ significantly due to their better representation of physical processes. It should also be noted that the model resolution can modify precipitation characteristics beyond just its mean value. © Inter-Research 2013.

Guo Z.,Climate Change Research Center | Guo Z.,CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics | Zhou T.J.,Climate Change Research Center | Zhou T.J.,CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics
Science China Earth Sciences | Year: 2014

Based on satellite data and the estimated inversion strength (EIS) derived by Wood et al. (2006), a feasible and uncomplicated stratocumulus scheme is proposed, referred to as EIS scheme. It improves simulation of cloud radiative forcing (CRF) in the Grid-point Atmospheric Model of IAP/LASG version 2 (GAMIL2.0) model. When compared with the original lower troposphere stability (LTS) scheme, the EIS scheme reproduces more reasonable climatology distributions of clouds and CRF. The parameterization partly corrects CRF underestimation at mid and high latitudes and overestimation in the convective region. Such improvements are achieved by neglecting the effect of free-tropospheric stratification changes that follow a cooler moist adiabat at middle and high latitude, thereby improving simulated cloudiness. The EIS scheme also improves simulation of the CRF interannual variability. The positive net CRF and negative stratiform anomaly in the East Asian and western North Pacific monsoon regions (EAWNPMR) are well simulated. The EIS scheme is more sensitive to sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) than the LTS. Therefore, under the effect of a warmer SSTA in the EAWNPMR, the EIS generates a stronger negative stratiform response, which reduces radiative heating in the low and mid troposphere, in turn producing strong subsidence and negative anomalies of both moisture and cloudiness. Consequent decreases in cloud reflection and shading effects ultimately improve simulation of incoming surface shortwave radiative fluxes and CRF. Because of the stronger subsidence, a stronger anomalous anticyclone over the Philippines Sea is simulated by the EIS run, which leads to a better positive precipitation anomaly in eastern China during ENSO winter. © 2014, Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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