CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

Slow and fast responses of mean and extreme precipitation to different forcing in CMIP5 simulations

Jana Sillmann, Camilla Weum Stjern, Gunnar Myhre, Piers M. Forster

We are investigating the fast and slow responses of changes in mean and extreme precipitation to different climate forcing mechanisms, such as greenhouse gas and solar forcing, to understand whether rapid adjustments are important for extreme precipitation. To disentangle the effect of rapid adjustment to a given forcing on the overall change in extreme precipitation we use a linear regression method that has been previously applied to mean precipitation. Equilibrium experiments with preindustrial CO2 concentrations and reduced solar constant were compared with a four times CO2 concentration experiment for 10 state-of-the-art climate models. We find that the two forcing mechanisms, greenhouse gases and solar, impose clearly different rapid adjustment signals in the mean precipitation, while such difference is difficult to discern for extreme precipitation due to large internal variability. In contrast to mean precipitation, changes in extreme precipitation scale with surface temperature trends and do not seem to depend on the forcing mechanism.

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