Publication Abstracts

Easterling et al. 2017

Easterling, D.R., K.E. Kunkel, J.R. Arnold, T. Knutson, A.N. LeGrande, L.R. Leung, R.S. Vose, D.E. Waliser, and M.F. Wehner, 2017: Precipitation change in the United States. In Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I. D.J. Wuebbles, D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, pp. 207-230, doi:10.7930/J0H993CC.

Annual precipitation has decreased in much of the West, Southwest, and Southeast and increased in most of the Northern and Southern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. A national average increase of 4% in annual precipitation since 1901 mostly a result of large increases in the fall season. (Medium confidence)

Heavy precipitation events in most parts of the United States have increased in both intensity and frequency since 1901 (high confidence). There are important regional differences in trends, with the largest increases occurring in the northeastern United States (high confidence). In particular, mesoscale convective systems (organized clusters of thunderstorms) — the main mechanism for warm season precipitation in the central part of the United States — have increased in occurrence and precipitation amounts since 1979 (medium confidence).

The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events are projected to continue to increase over the 21st century (high confidence). Mesoscale convective systems in the central United States are expected to continue to increase in number and intensity in the future (medium confidence). There are, however, important regional and seasonal differences in projected changes in total precipitation: the northern United States, including Alaska, is projected to receive more precipitation in the winter and spring, and parts of the southwestern United States are projected to receive less precipitation in the winter and spring (medium confidence).

Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover extent, North America maximum snow depth, snow water equivalent in the western United States, and extreme snowfall years in the southern and western United States have all declined, while extreme snowfall years in parts of the northern United States have increased (medium confidence). Projections indicate large declines in snowpack in the western United States and shifts to more precipitation falling as rain than snow in the cold season in many parts of the central and eastern United States (high confidence).

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Easterling, D. R. and Kunkel, K. E. and Arnold, J. R. and Knutson, T. and LeGrande, A. N. and Leung, L. R. and Vose, R. S. and Waliser, D. E. and Wehner, M. F.},
  editor={Wuebbles, D. J. and Fahey, D. W. and Hibbard, K. A. and Dokken, D. J. and Stewart, B. C. and Maycock, T. K.},
  title={Precipitation change in the United States},
  booktitle={Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I},
  publisher={U.S. Global Change Research Program},
  address={Washington, D.C.},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ea02000c
AU  - Easterling, D. R.
AU  - Kunkel, K. E.
AU  - Arnold, J. R.
AU  - Knutson, T.
AU  - LeGrande, A. N.
AU  - Leung, L. R.
AU  - Vose, R. S.
AU  - Waliser, D. E.
AU  - Wehner, M. F.
ED  - Wuebbles, D. J.
ED  - Fahey, D. W.
ED  - Hibbard, K. A.
ED  - Dokken, D. J.
ED  - Stewart, B. C.
ED  - Maycock, T. K.
PY  - 2017
TI  - Precipitation change in the United States
BT  - Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I
SP  - 207
EP  - 230
DO  - 10.7930/J0H993CC
PB  - U.S. Global Change Research Program
CY  - Washington, D.C.
ER  -

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