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Title: Dynamical and thermodynamical modulations of future changes in landfalling atmospheric rivers over North America

This study examines the changes of landfalling atmospheric rivers (ARs) over the west coast of North America in response to future warming using model outputs from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5). The result reveals a strikingly large magnitude of increase of AR days by the end of the 21st century in the RCP8.5 climate change scenario, with fractional increases ranging between ~50% and 600%, depending on the seasons and the landfall locations. These increases are predominantly controlled by the super-Clausius-Clapeyron rate of increase of atmospheric water vapor with warming, while changes of winds that transport moisture in the ARs, or dynamical effect, mostly counter the thermodynamical effect of increasing water vapor, limiting the increase of AR events in the future. The consistent negative effect of wind changes on AR days during spring and fall can be further linked to the robust poleward shift of the subtropical jet in the North Pacific basin.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276; KP1703010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters; Journal Volume: 42; Journal Issue: 17
American Geophysical Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States