AbstractPrecipitation trends for 1901-2010, 1951-2010 and 1981- 2010 over relatively well-observed global land regions are assessed for detectable anthropogenic influences and for consistency with Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) historical simulations. The CMIP5 historical All-Forcing runs are broadly consistent with the observed trend pattern (1901-2010), but with an apparent low trend bias tendency in the simulations. Despite this bias, observed and modeled trends are statistically consistent over 59% of the analyzed area. Over 20% (9%) of the analyzed area, increased (decreased) precipitation is partly attributable to anthropogenic forcing. These inferred human-induced changes include: increases over regions of the north-central U.S., southern Canada, Europe, and southern South America; and decreases over parts of the Mediterranean region and northern tropical Africa. Trends for the shorter periods (1951-2010 and 1981-2010) do not indicate a prominent low trend bias in the models, as found for the 1901-2010 trends. An atmosphere-only model, forced with observed sea surface temperatures and other climate forcing agents, also under-predicts the observed precipitation increase in the northern hemisphere extratropics since 1901. The CMIP5 All-Forcing ensemble’s low bias in simulated trends since 1901 is a tentative finding which, if borne out in further studies, suggests that precipitation projections using these regions/models could overestimate future drought risk, and underestimate future flooding risk.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 12, 2018
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