AbstractDistributions of precipitation cluster power (latent heat release rate integrated over contiguous precipitating pixels) are examined in 1- 2° resolution members of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) climate model ensemble. These approximately reproduce the power law range and large event cutoff seen in observations and the High Resolution Atmospheric Model (HIRAM) at 0.25-0.5° in Part I. Under the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 global warming scenario, the change in the probability of the most intense storm clusters appears in all models and is consistent with HIRAM output, increasing by up to an order of magnitude relative to historical climate. For the three models in the ensemble with continuous time series of high resolution output, there is substantial variability on when these probability increases for the most powerful storm clusters become detectable, ranging from detectable within the observational period to statistically significant trends emerging only after 2050. A similar analysis of National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Reanalysis 2 and Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSM/I and SSMIS) rain rate retrievals in the recent observational record does not yield reliable evidence of trends in high power cluster probabilities at this time. However, the results suggest that maintaining a consistent set of overlapping satellite instrumentation with improvements to SSM/I-SSMIS rain rate retrieval inter-calibrations would be useful for detecting trends in this important tail behavior within the next couple of decades.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jul 14, 2017
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