Contribution of large-scale circulation anomalies to changes in extreme precipitation frequency in the United States

The mean global climate has warmed as a result of the increasing emission of greenhouse gases induced by human activities. This warming is considered the main reason for the increasing number of extreme precipitation events in the US. While much attention has been given to extreme precipitation events occurring over several days, which are usually responsible for severe flooding over a large region, little is known about how extreme precipitation events that cause flash flooding and occur at sub-daily time scales have changed over time. Here we use the observed hourly precipitation from the North American Land Data Assimilation System Phase 2 forcing datasets to determine trends in the frequency of extreme precipitation events of short (1 h, 3 h, 6 h, 12 h and 24 h) duration for the period 1979–2013.

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