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Multiscale precipitation variability and extremes over South America: analysis of future changes from a set of CORDEX regional climate model simulations


The precipitation behaviour at different timescales (interannual, intraseasonal and synoptic) and extreme events in a warmer scenario over South America is analysed. This study is based on a set of Regional Climate Models (RCM) from the CORDEX database and their driving Global Climate Models (GCM) from the CMIP5 Project. Historical simulations for 1979–2005 and from the RCP4.5 scenario for 2071–2100 are used. The projected changes in the precipitation behaviour are evaluated in terms of the consistency between the pairs RCM-GCM aiming to explore the added value of RCMs. The agreement between projected changes from RCMs is also evaluated as a measure of confidence of the regional climate change signal. The analysis is carried out for two extended seasons (April to September and October to March). The projected change in the mean precipitation over subtropical latitudes is associated with both changes in the frequency of rainy days and in the intensity of extreme events, while for the tropics the changes are mainly associated with changes in the wet day frequency. The increase of extreme precipitation events over the subtropics arises as a robust signal among models, while for tropical latitudes the dispersion among models is high, which reduces the confidence of the projections. In general, the consistency of the projections in the pairs RCM-GCM and the agreement among models are higher for the low frequency variability patterns during winter, while for summertime a better agreement in the projected changes of the precipitation behaviour at different timescales among RCMs is found.

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The authors acknowledge the WCRP-CMIP5 and CORDEX for making available the models outputs used in this work. This work was supported by UBACYT2018 Grant 20020170100117BA. The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers, whose comments and suggestions allowed improving the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Josefina Blázquez.

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Blázquez, J., Silvina, A.S. Multiscale precipitation variability and extremes over South America: analysis of future changes from a set of CORDEX regional climate model simulations. Clim Dyn 55, 2089–2106 (2020).

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  • Regional climate modeling
  • South America
  • Precipitation
  • Future climate