Climate Dynamics

, Volume 39, Issue 3–4, pp 827–840 | Cite as

Regime dependent changes in global precipitation



Assessment of changes in precipitation (P) as a function of percentiles of surface temperature (T) and 500 hPa vertical velocity (ω) are presented, considering present-day simulations and observational estimates from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) combined with the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts Interim reanalysis (ERA Interim). There is a tendency for models to overestimate P in the warm, subsiding regimes compared to GPCP, in some cases by more than 100%, while many models underestimate P in the moderate temperature regimes. Considering climate change projections between 1980–1999 and 2080–2099, responses in P are characterised by dP/dT ≥ 4%/K over the coldest 10–20% of land points and over warm, ascending ocean points while P declines over the warmest, descending regimes (dP/dT ∼ − 4%/K for model ensemble means). The reduced Walker circulation limits this contrasting dP/dT response in the tropical wet and dry regimes only marginally. Around 70% of the global surface area exhibits a consistent sign for dP/dT in at least 6 out of a 7-member model ensemble when considering P composites in terms of dynamic regime.


Precipitation Climate models Dynamical regime 



The modelling groups, the Programme for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison and the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling are acknowledged for their roles in making available the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model data set. Support of this data set is provided by the Office of Science, US Department of Energy. The Natural Environment Research Council are acknowledged for funding this work through the National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences (NCAS) Climate and the PREPARE project (NE/G015708/1). Matthias Zahn and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Meteorology, National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS)—ClimateUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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