Changes in winter precipitation extremes for the western United States under a warmer climate as simulated by regional climate models

F. Dominguez, E. Rivera, D. P. Lettenmaier, C. L. Castro

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89 Scopus citations


We find a consistent and statistically significant increase in the intensity of future extreme winter precipitation events over the western United States, as simulated by an ensemble of regional climate models (RCMs) driven by IPCC AR4 global climate models (GCMs). All eight simulations analyzed in this work consistently show an increase in the intensity of extreme winter precipitation with the multi-model mean projecting an area-averaged 12.6% increase in 20-year return period and 14.4% increase in 50-year return period daily precipitation. In contrast with extreme precipitation, the multi-model ensemble shows a decrease in mean winter precipitation of approximately 7.5% in the southwestern US, while the interior west shows less statistically robust increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL05803
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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