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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Richard P. Allan & Brian J. Soden, Atmospheric warming and the amplification of precipitation extremes / 7 August 2008 / Page 2 / 10.1126/science.116078

Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes 

Richard P. Allan¹* and Brian J. Soden²

¹Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, Berkshire, RG6 6AL, U.K.

²Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, FL 33149, USA. 


Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model projected changes in extreme precipitation. Here we use satellite observations and model simulations to examine the 
response of tropical precipitation events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric 
moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore, the 
observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger than predicted by models, implying that 
projections of future changes in rainfall extremes due to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated. 

*Correspondence e-mail:

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