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A brief review of rainfall statistics

Filed under: — rasmus @ 21 November 2017

There have been a number of studies which show that we can expect more extreme rainfall with a global warming (e.g. Donat et al., 2016). Hence, there is a need to increase our resilience to more rainfall in the future.

We can say something about how the rainfall statistics will be affected by a global warming, even when the weather itself is unpredictable beyond a few days.

Statistics is remarkably predictable for a large number of events where each of them is completely random (welcome to thermodynamics and quantum physics).

The normal distribution has often been used to describe the statistical character of daily temperature, but it is completely unsuitable for 24-hr precipitation. Instead, the gamma distribution has been a popular choice for describing rainfall.

I wonder, however, if there is an even better way to quantify rainfall statistics.

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References

  1. M.G. Donat, A.L. Lowry, L.V. Alexander, P.A. O’Gorman, and N. Maher, "More extreme precipitation in the world’s dry and wet regions", Nature Climate Change, vol. 6, pp. 508-513, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2941

O Say can you See Ice…

Filed under: — gavin @ 6 November 2017

Some concerns about continued monitoring of sea ice by remote sensing were raised this week in Nature News an article in the (UK) Observer: Donald Trump accused of obstructing satellite research into climate change. The last headline is not really correct, but the underlying issues are real.

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Unforced variations: Nov 2017

Filed under: — group @ 4 November 2017

This month’s open thread. Lawsuits about scientific disputes, the new Climate Science Special Report from the National Climate Assessment, and (imminently) the WMO State of the Climate statement for 2017.

El Niño and the record years 1998 and 2016

Filed under: — stefan @ 4 November 2017

2017 is set to be one of warmest years on record. Gavin has been making regular forecasts of where 2017 will end up, and it is now set to be #2 or #3 in the list of hottest years:

In either case it will be the warmest year on record that was not boosted by El Niño. I’ve been asked several times whether that is surprising. After all, the El Niño event, which pushed up the 2016 temperature, is well behind us. El Niño conditions prevailed in the tropical Pacific from October 2014 throughout 2015 and in the first half of 2016, giving way to a cold La Niña event in the latter half of 2016. (Note that global temperature lags El Niño variations by several months so this La Niña should have cooled 2017.) More »