Global warming precipitation accumulation increases above the current-climate cutoff scale

Large accumulations of rainfall over a precipitation event can impact human infrastructure. Unlike precipitation intensity distributions, probability distributions for accumulations at first drop slowly with increasing size. At a certain size—the cutoff scale—the behavior regime changes, and the probabilities drop rapidly. In current climate, every region is protected from excessively large accumulations by this cutoff scale, and human activities are adapted to this. An analysis of how accumulations will change under global warming gives a natural physical interpretation for the atmospheric processes producing this cutoff, but, more importantly, yields a prediction that this cutoff scale will extend in a warmer climate, leading to vastly disproportionate increases in the probabilities of the very largest events.

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