Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-229
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
26 Jul 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Simple and approximate upper-limit estimation of future precipitation return-values
Rasmus E. Benestad, Kajsa M. Parding, Abdelkader Mezghani, and Anita V. Dyrrdal The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, 0313, Norway
Abstract. We present estimates for an upper limit for twenty-year return-values for 24-hr precipitation at different locations in Europe and a crude method to quantify bounds of likely intervals. Our results suggest an increase by as much as 40–50 % projected for 2100, assuming a high emission scenario, RCP8.5. The new strategy is based on combining physics with the limited available information, and utilises the covariance between the mean seasonal variations in precipitation and the North Atlantic saturation vapour pressure to estimate the maximum effect that a temperature change can have on precipitation, rather than the actual expected values. Return-value projections were derived through a simple and approximate scheme that combines the one-year 24-hr precipitation return-value and downscaled annual wet-day mean precipitation for a 1-in-20 year event. The twenty-year return-value was estimated by the 95th percentile of multi-model ensemble spread of downscaled climate model results. We found geographical variations in the shape of the seasonal cycle of the wet-day mean precipitation which suggest that different rain-producing mechanisms dominate in different regions. These differences indicate that the simple method used here to estimate upper limits was more appropriate for convective precipitation than for orographic rainfall.

Citation: Benestad, R. E., Parding, K. M., Mezghani, A., and Dyrrdal, A. V.: Simple and approximate upper-limit estimation of future precipitation return-values, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-229, in review, 2016.
Rasmus E. Benestad et al.
Rasmus E. Benestad et al.
Rasmus E. Benestad et al.

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Short summary
We propose a strategy for quantifying the maximum effect a temperature change has on heavy precipitation amounts making use of the limited available sources of information: laws of physics, seasonal variations, mathematical estimation of probability, and large number of climate model results. An upper bound is estimated rather than most likely value.
We propose a strategy for quantifying the maximum effect a temperature change has on heavy...
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