It is widely recognized that future rainfall extremes will intensify. This expectation is tied to the Clausius-Clapeyron (CC) relation, stating that the maximum water vapour content in the atmosphere increases by 6-7% per degree warming. Scaling rates for the dependency of hourly precipitation extremes on near-surface (dew point) temperature derived from day-to-day variability have been found to exceed this relation (super-CC). However, both the applicability of this approach in a long-term climate change context, and the physical realism of super-CC rates have been questioned. Here, we analyse three different climate change experiments with a convection-permitting model over Western Europe: simple uniform-warming, 11-year pseudo-global warming and 11-year global climate model driven. The uniform-warming experiment results in consistent increases to the intensity of hourly rainfall extremes of approximately 11% per degree for moderate to high extremes. The other two, more realistic, experiments show smaller increases-usually at or below the CC rate-for moderate extremes, mostly resulting from significant decreases to rainfall occurrence. However, changes to the most extreme events are broadly consistent with 1.5-2 times the CC rate (10-14% per degree), as predicted from the present-day scaling rate for the highest percentiles. This result has important implications for climate adaptation. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes and implications for flash flood risks'.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
- climate change
- hourly precipitation extremes
- precipitation scaling