What is it about?

Increasing global temperatures are likely to result in the intensification of extreme precipitation events with resultant flooding of great societal concern. Understanding the relationship between extreme precipitation and temperature provides valuable information for the design, operation, and risk assessment of high‐hazard infrastructure. However, the observed precipitation‐temperature relationship has been found to vary significantly across the globe, with negative relationships found in warmer climatic regions. Here we examine temperature's role in the physical processes underlying the causality of precipitation extremes at a subdaily scale to inform rainfall event selection and representative temperature sampling.

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Why is it important?

We find that short‐duration extreme precipitation can be better described by subdaily atmospheric conditions before the start of storm events, resulting in positive sensitivities with increased consistency with the Clausius‐Clapeyron relation across a wide range of climatic regions. Contrary to previous studies that advocate that dew point temperature drives precipitation, dry‐bulb temperature is found to be a sufficient descriptor of precipitation variability. We argue that analysis methods for estimating extreme precipitation‐temperature sensitivities should account for the strong and prolonged cooling effect of intense precipitation, as well as for the intermittent nature of precipitation.

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This page is a summary of: Resolving Inconsistencies in Extreme Precipitation‐Temperature Sensitivities, Geophysical Research Letters, September 2020, American Geophysical Union (AGU), DOI: 10.1029/2020gl089723.
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