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Trends in Arctic seasonal and extreme precipitation in recent decades

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Abstract

Daily precipitation data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ERA-Interim) from 1979 to 2016 are analyzed to determine the trends in seasonal and extreme precipitation across the pan-Arctic and estimate the contributions to the trends from the dynamic (e.g., changes in circulation patterns) and thermodynamic processes (e.g., sea ice melt–water vapor feedback) and their interactions. The trends in the seasonal total precipitation are generally consistent with the trends in the occurrence of seasonal extreme precipitation. Although the trends vary considerably in direction and magnitude across the pan-Arctic and the seasons, more regions experience a statistically significant positive trend than negative trend, particularly in autumn and winter seasons and over areas of the Arctic Ocean and the northern North Atlantic. Statistically significant negative trends are mostly found in areas of northern Eurasian and North America. The thermodynamic processes account for more than 85% of the total trends, with the rest of the trends explained by the dynamic processes (e.g., changes in circulation patterns) and the interaction between dynamic and thermodynamic processes.

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Availability of data and material

Daily atmospheric variables are provided by the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Interim ReAnalysis (ERA-Interim) (https://www.ecmwf.int/en/forecasts/datasets/reanalysis-datasets/era-interim).

Code availability

The Matlab code used in this paper is available as long as authors are contacted.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) for the ERA-Interim data. This study is supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2019YFC1509103; 2017YFE0111700), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41922044). We also acknowledge the help from the two anonymous reviewers in improving the manuscript.

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Lejiang Yu designed the research, analyzed the data, and wrote the first draft of the paper. Shiyuan Zhong revised the first draft and provided useful insights during various stages of the work.

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Correspondence to Lejiang Yu.

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Yu, L., Zhong, S. Trends in Arctic seasonal and extreme precipitation in recent decades. Theor Appl Climatol 145, 1541–1559 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-021-03717-7

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