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Detectable Anthropogenic Shift toward Heavy Precipitation over Eastern China

Ma, S and Zhou, T and Stone, DA and Polson, D and Dai, A and Stott, PA and von Storch, H and Qian, Y and Burke, C and Wu, P and Zou, L and Ciavarella, A (2017) Detectable Anthropogenic Shift toward Heavy Precipitation over Eastern China. Journal of Climate, 30 (4). ISSN 0894-8755

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Abstract

Changes in precipitation characteristics directly affect society through their impacts on drought and floods, hydro-dams, and urban drainage systems. Global warming increases the water holding capacity of the atmosphere and thus the risk of heavy precipitation. Here, daily precipitation records from over 700 Chinese stations from 1956 to 2005 are analyzed. The results show a significant shift from light to heavy precipitation over eastern China. An optimal fingerprinting analysis of simulations from 11 climate models driven by different combinations of historical anthropogenic (greenhouse gases, aerosols, land use, and ozone) and natural (volcanic and solar) forcings indicates that anthropogenic forcing on climate, including increases in greenhouse gases (GHGs), has had a detectable contribution to the observed shift toward heavy precipitation. Some evidence is found that anthropogenic aerosols (AAs) partially offset the effect of the GHG forcing, resulting in a weaker shift toward heavy precipitation in simulations that include the AA forcing than in simulations with only the GHG forcing. In addition to the thermodynamic mechanism, strengthened water vapor transport from the adjacent oceans and by midlatitude westerlies, resulting mainly from GHG-induced warming, also favors heavy precipitation over eastern China. Further GHG-induced warming is predicted to lead to an increasing shift toward heavy precipitation, leading to increased urban flooding and posing a significant challenge for mega-cities in China in the coming decades. Future reductions in AA emissions resulting from air pollution controls could exacerbate this tendency toward heavier precipitation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0401 Atmospheric Sciences, 0405 Oceanography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Amercian Meteorological Society
Date Deposited: 05 May 2017 09:57
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2017 23:50
DOI or Identification number: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0311.1
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6358

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