Large-scale controls on extreme precipitation

Jessica M. Loriaux*, Geert Lenderink, A.P. Siebesma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Large-eddy simulations with strong lateral forcing representative of precipitation over the Netherlands are performed to investigate the influence of stability, relative humidity (RH), and moisture convergence on precipitation. Furthermore, a simple climate perturbation is applied to analyze the precipitation response to increasing temperatures. Precipitation is decomposed to distinguish between processes affecting the precipitating area and the precipitation intensity. It is shown that amplification of the moisture convergence and destabilization of the atmosphere both lead to an increase in precipitation, but on account of different effects: atmospheric stability mainly influences the precipitation intensity, whereas the moisture convergence mainly controls the precipitation area fraction. Extreme precipitation intensities show qualitatively similar sensitivities to atmospheric stability and moisture convergence. Precipitation increases with RH due to an increase in area fraction, despite a decrease in intensity. The precipitation response to the climate perturbation shows a stronger response for the precipitation intensity than the overall precipitation, with no clear dependency on changes in atmospheric stability, moisture convergence, and relative humidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-968
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Dynamics
  • Extreme events
  • Forcing
  • Precipitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Large-scale controls on extreme precipitation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this