Higher Hydroclimatic Intensity with Global Warming

Giorgi, F.; Im, E.-S.; Coppola, E.; Diffenbaugh, N. S.; Gao, X. J.; Mariotti, L.; Shi, Y.
October 2011
Journal of Climate;Oct2011, Vol. 24 Issue 20, p5309
Academic Journal
Because of their dependence on water, natural and human systems are highly sensitive to changes in the hydrologic cycle. The authors introduce a new measure of hydroclimatic intensity (HY-INT), which integrates metrics of precipitation intensity and dry spell length, viewing the response of these two metrics to global warming as deeply interconnected. Using a suite of global and regional climate model experiments, it is found that increasing HY-INT is a consistent and ubiquitous signature of twenty-first-century, greenhouse gas-induced global warming. Depending on the region, the increase in HY-INT is due to an increase in precipitation intensity, dry spell length, or both. Late twentieth-century observations also exhibit dominant positive HY-INT trends, providing a hydroclimatic signature of late twentieth-century warming. The authors find that increasing HY-INT is physically consistent with the response of both precipitation intensity and dry spell length to global warming. Precipitation intensity increases because of increased atmospheric water holding capacity. However, increases in mean precipitation are tied to increases in surface evaporation rates, which are lower than for atmospheric moisture. This leads to a reduction in the number of wet days and an increase in dry spell length. This analysis identifies increasing hydroclimatic intensity as a robust integrated response to global warming, implying increasing risks for systems that are sensitive to wet and dry extremes and providing a potential target for detection and attribution of hydroclimatic changes.


Related Articles

  • Australian Snowpack Disappearing under the Influence of Global Warming and SoTir Activity. Sánchez-Bayo, Francisco; Green, Ken // Arctic, Antarctic & Alpine Research;Feb2013, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p107 

    Average depth of snow in the mountains of southeastern Australia is decreasing at a rate of 0.48 cm a-1, while the duration of the snowpack has been shortened by 18.5 days since 1954 (--3 days per decade). The major factors responsible for these declines are an increasing temperature trend of...

  • Climatic Timescale Temperature and Precipitation Increases on Long Island, New York. Dike, Joy; Tilburg, Charles // Atmosphere -- Ocean (Canadian Meteorological & Oceanographic Soc;Jun2007, Vol. 45 Issue 2, p93 

    Global warming due to increased greenhouse gases is believed to result in not only higher surface temperatures but also an acceleration of the hydrological cycle leading to increased precipitation. Although climate models consistently predict increases in global temperatures due to increasing...

  • A climatological comparison of column-integrated water vapor for the third-generation reanalysis datasets. Wang, Yu; Zhang, Ying; Fu, YunFei; Li, Rui; Yang, YuanJian // SCIENCE CHINA Earth Sciences;Feb2016, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p296 

    The atmospheric reanalysis datasets have been widely used to understand the variability of atmospheric water vapor on various temporal and spatial scales for climate change research. The difference among a variety of reanalysis datasets, however, causes the uncertainty of corresponding results....

  • The atmospheric water cycle over South America as seen in the new generation of global reanalyses. Quadro, Mario F. L.; Berbery, Ernesto H.; Silva Dias, Maria A. F.; Herdies, Dirceu L.; Gonçalves, Luis G. G. // AIP Conference Proceedings;May2013, Vol. 1531 Issue 1, p732 

    In this study the main features of the hydrological cycle over the South American region are documented with three reanalysis datasets and two observation-derived precipitation products. Rather than attempting to 'close the water balance' that requires additional terms, many model dependent, we...

  • Robust Responses of the Hydrological Cycle to Global Warming. Held, Isaac M.; Soden, Brian J. // Journal of Climate;Nov2006, Vol. 19 Issue 21, p5686 

    Using the climate change experiments generated for the Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, this study examines some aspects of the changes in the hydrological cycle that are robust across the models. These responses include the decrease in convective mass fluxes,...

  • Global Changes of the Water Cycle Intensity. Bosilovich, Michael G.; Schubert, Siegfried D.; Walker, Gregory K. // Journal of Climate;May2005, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p1591 

    In this study, numerical simulations of the twentieth-century climate are evaluated, focusing on the changes in the intensity of the global water cycle. A new model diagnostic of atmospheric water vapor cycling rate is developed and employed that relies on constituent tracers predicted at the...

  • Comment on "Biotic pump of atmospheric moisture as driver of the hydrological cycle on land" by A. M. Makarieva and V. G. Gorshkov, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1013-1033, 2007. Meesters, A. G. C. A.; Dolman, A. J.; Bruijnzeel, L. A. // Hydrology & Earth System Sciences Discussions;2009, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p401 

    In their paper "Biotic pump of atmospheric moisture as driver of the hydrological cycle on land", Makarieva and Gorshkov (Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1013-1033, 2007) derive from "previously unstudied" properties of atmospheric water vapor, the existence of a hitherto unknown "evaporative...

  • Empirical Modeling of Layered Integrated Water Vapor Using Surface Mixing Ratio in Nigeria. Adeyemi, B. // Journal of Applied Meteorology & Climatology;Feb2009, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p369 

    Using the available upper-air data for three stations in Nigeria (Lagos, a coastal station; Minna, an inland station; and Kano, a sub-Sahelian station), an intensive examination has been carried out on the linkage between surface mixing ratio rs and layered integrated water vapor W (g cm-2) over...

  • Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Barnett, T. P.; Adam, J. C.; Lettenmaier, D. P. // Nature;11/17/2005, Vol. 438 Issue 7066, p303 

    All currently available climate models predict a near-surface warming trend under the influence of rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In addition to the direct effects on climate—for example, on the frequency of heatwaves—this increase in surface temperatures has...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics