Climate change increases the probability of heavy rains like those of storm Desmond in the UK – an event attribution study in near-real time
G. J. van Oldenborgh1, F. E. L. Otto2, K. Haustein2, and H. Cullen31Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), R&D Models, De Bilt, the Netherlands 2Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK 3Climate Central, Princeton, USA
Received: 10 Dec 2015 – Accepted for review: 14 Dec 2015 – Discussion started: 16 Dec 2015
Abstract. On 4–6 December 2015, the storm "Desmond" caused very heavy rainfall in northern England and Scotland, which led to widespread flooding. Here we provide an initial assessment of the influence of anthropogenic climate change on the likelihood of one-day precipitation events averaged over an area encompassing northern England and southern Scotland using data and methods available immediately after the event occurred. The analysis is based on three independent methods of extreme event attribution: historical observed trends, coupled climate model simulations and a large ensemble of regional model simulations. All three methods agree that the effect of climate change is positive, making precipitation events like this about 40 % more likely, with a provisional 2.5–97.5 % confidence interval of 5–80 %.
van Oldenborgh, G. J., Otto, F. E. L., Haustein, K., and Cullen, H.: Climate change increases the probability of heavy rains like those of storm Desmond in the UK – an event attribution study in near-real time, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 12, 13197-13216, doi:10.5194/hessd-12-13197-2015, 2015.