Can Regional Climate Modeling capture the observed changes in spatial organization of extreme storms at higher temperatures?

Li, J., C. Wasko, F. Johnson, J. Evans and A. Sharma
Geophysical Research Letters, 45(9), 4475-4484, doi: 10.1029/2018GL077716, 2018.


The spatial extent and organization of extreme storm events has important practical implications for flood forecasting. Recently, conflicting evidence has been found on the observed changes of storm spatial extent with increasing temperatures. To further investigate this question, a regional climate model assessment is presented for the Greater Sydney region, in Australia. Two regional climate models were considered: the first a convection-resolving simulation at 2-km resolution, the second a resolution of 10 km with three different convection parameterizations. Both the 2- and the 10-km resolutions that used the Betts-Miller-Janjic convective scheme simulate decreasing storm spatial extent with increasing temperatures for 1-hr duration precipitation events, consistent with the observation-based study in Australia. However, other observed relationships of extreme rainfall with increasing temperature were not well represented by the models. Improved methods for considering storm organization are required to better understand potential future changes.

Key Figure

Figure 3. Scaling of the effective radius with temperature for 1-hr storms.

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