More Frequent Intense and Long-Lived Storms Dominate the Springtime Trend in Central US Rainfall

TitleMore Frequent Intense and Long-Lived Storms Dominate the Springtime Trend in Central US Rainfall
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFeng, Zhe, L. Leung Ruby, Hagos Samson, Houze Robert, Burleyson Casey D., and Balaguru Karthik
JournalNature Communications
Volume7
Number13429 (2016)
Date Published11/2016
Abstract / Summary

The changes in extreme rainfall associated with a warming climate have drawn significant attention in recent years. Mounting evidence shows that sub-daily convective rainfall extremes are increasing faster than the rate of change in the atmospheric precipitable water capacity with a warming climate. However, the response of extreme precipitation depends on the type of storm supported by the meteorological environment. Here using long-term satellite, surface radar and rain-gauge network data and atmospheric reanalyses, we show that the observed increases in springtime total and extreme rainfall in the central United States are dominated by mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), the largest type of convective storm, with increased frequency and intensity of long-lasting MCSs. A strengthening of the southerly low-level jet and its associated moisture transport in the Central/Northern Great Plains, in the overall climatology and particularly on days with long-lasting MCSs, accounts for the changes in the precipitation produced by these storms.

URLhttp://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13429
DOI10.1038/ncomms13429
Journal: Nature Communications
Year of Publication: 2016
Volume: 7
Number: 13429 (2016)
Date Published: 11/2016

The changes in extreme rainfall associated with a warming climate have drawn significant attention in recent years. Mounting evidence shows that sub-daily convective rainfall extremes are increasing faster than the rate of change in the atmospheric precipitable water capacity with a warming climate. However, the response of extreme precipitation depends on the type of storm supported by the meteorological environment. Here using long-term satellite, surface radar and rain-gauge network data and atmospheric reanalyses, we show that the observed increases in springtime total and extreme rainfall in the central United States are dominated by mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), the largest type of convective storm, with increased frequency and intensity of long-lasting MCSs. A strengthening of the southerly low-level jet and its associated moisture transport in the Central/Northern Great Plains, in the overall climatology and particularly on days with long-lasting MCSs, accounts for the changes in the precipitation produced by these storms.

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13429
Citation:
Feng, Z, L Leung, S Hagos, R Houze, CD Burleyson, and K Balaguru.  2016.  "More Frequent Intense and Long-Lived Storms Dominate the Springtime Trend in Central US Rainfall."  Nature Communications 7(13429 (2016)).  https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13429.