06 December 2016

Atmospheric River Landfall-Latitude Changes in Future Climate Simulations

Science

The latitude of landfall for atmospheric rivers (ARs) is examined in the fully coupled half-degree version of the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) for warm future climate simulations.  Two regions are examined: U.S. West Coast/North Pacific ARs, and United Kingdom/North Atlantic ARs. Changes in AR landfall-latitude reflect changes in the atmospheric steering flow. 

Impact

West coast U.S. ARs are projected to push equatorward in response to the subtropical jet climate change. UK AR response is dominated by eddy-driven jets and is seasonally dependent. UK simulated AR response is modest in the winter with the largest relative changes occurring in the seasonal transition months. Precipitation associated with ARs is also projected to increase in intensity under global warming. 

Summary

CCSM4 projects a marked shift to higher rainfall rates for Southern California.  Small to modest rainfall rates may increase for all UK latitudes, for the Pacific Northwest, and central and northern California.

Contact
Christine Shields
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)