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Title: Attributable Human-Induced Changes in the Likelihood and Magnitude of the Observed Extreme Precipitation during Hurricane Harvey

Abstract

Record rainfall amounts were recorded during Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas, area, leading to widespread flooding. We analyze observed precipitation from the Global Historical Climatology Network with a covariate-based extreme value statistical analysis, accounting for both the external influence of global warming and the internal influence of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. We find that human-induced climate change likely increased the chances of the observed precipitation accumulations during Hurricane Harvey in the most affected areas of Houston by a factor of at least 3.5. Further, precipitation accumulations in these areas were likely increased by at least 18.8% (best estimate of 37.7%), which is larger than the 6–7% associated with an attributable warming of 1°C in the Gulf of Mexico and Clausius-Clapeyron scaling. Thus, in a Granger causality sense, these statements provide lower bounds on the impact of climate change and motivate further attribution studies using dynamical climate models.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Computational Research Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
SC-23.1 USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23). Climate and Environmental Sciences Division
OSTI Identifier:
1425431
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 44; Journal Issue: 24; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; attribution; extreme value analysis; global historical climatology network; Hurricane Harvey; climate change

Citation Formats

Risser, Mark D., and Wehner, Michael F. Attributable Human-Induced Changes in the Likelihood and Magnitude of the Observed Extreme Precipitation during Hurricane Harvey. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017GL075888.
Risser, Mark D., & Wehner, Michael F. Attributable Human-Induced Changes in the Likelihood and Magnitude of the Observed Extreme Precipitation during Hurricane Harvey. United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL075888.
Risser, Mark D., and Wehner, Michael F. Thu . "Attributable Human-Induced Changes in the Likelihood and Magnitude of the Observed Extreme Precipitation during Hurricane Harvey". United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL075888. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1425431.
@article{osti_1425431,
title = {Attributable Human-Induced Changes in the Likelihood and Magnitude of the Observed Extreme Precipitation during Hurricane Harvey},
author = {Risser, Mark D. and Wehner, Michael F.},
abstractNote = {Record rainfall amounts were recorded during Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, Texas, area, leading to widespread flooding. We analyze observed precipitation from the Global Historical Climatology Network with a covariate-based extreme value statistical analysis, accounting for both the external influence of global warming and the internal influence of El Niño–Southern Oscillation. We find that human-induced climate change likely increased the chances of the observed precipitation accumulations during Hurricane Harvey in the most affected areas of Houston by a factor of at least 3.5. Further, precipitation accumulations in these areas were likely increased by at least 18.8% (best estimate of 37.7%), which is larger than the 6–7% associated with an attributable warming of 1°C in the Gulf of Mexico and Clausius-Clapeyron scaling. Thus, in a Granger causality sense, these statements provide lower bounds on the impact of climate change and motivate further attribution studies using dynamical climate models.},
doi = {10.1002/2017GL075888},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = 24,
volume = 44,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {12}
}

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Cited by: 24 works
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    Quantifying Flood Frequency Modification Caused by Multi-Reservoir Regulation
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    Trends in Compound Flooding in Northwestern Europe During 1901–2014
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    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 46, Issue 19
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    Strengthened scientific support for the Endangerment Finding for atmospheric greenhouse gases
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    • Science, Vol. 363, Issue 6427
    • DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5982