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Title: The Robust Dynamical Contribution to Precipitation Extremes in Idealized Warming Simulations across Model Resolutions

The impact of the circulation shift under climate warming on the distribution of precipitation extremes and the associated sensitivity to model resolution are investigated using the aquaplanet Community Atmosphere Model CAM3. The response of the probability density function of the precipitation to a uniform SST warming can be interpreted as superimposition of a dynamically induced poleward shift and a thermodynamically induced upward shift toward higher intensities, which give rise to manyfold increase in the frequency of the most extreme categories of the precipitation events at the poleward side of the midlatitude storm track. Meanwhile, the thermodynamic contribution to the intensification of the precipitation extremes is substantially less than expected from the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, implicative of significant change in the vertical structure of the precipitation processes. While coarser resolutions underestimate the dynamical contribution to the increase of precipitation extremes, a modest increase of the equator-to-pole SST warming gradient can have a significant opposite effect.
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters, 41(8):2971–2978
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
robust; dynamical; precipitation; warming simulations; model resolutions