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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-12-13197-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hessd-12-13197-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Dec 2015

Submitted as: research article | 16 Dec 2015

Review status
This preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

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. Cullen3 G. J. van Oldenborgh et al.
  • 1Royal 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

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 %.

G. J. van Oldenborgh et al.

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Interactive discussion

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G. J. van Oldenborgh et al.

G. J. van Oldenborgh et al.

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Short summary
On 4–6 December 2015, the storm 'Desmond' caused very heavy rainfall in northern England and Scotland, which led to widespread flooding. We provide an initial assessment of the influence of anthropogenic climate change on the likelihood of precipitation events like this. We use three independent methods of extreme event attribution based on observations and two climate models. All methods agree that the effect of climate change is positive, making events like this about 40% (5–80%) more likely.
On 4–6 December 2015, the storm 'Desmond' caused very heavy rainfall in northern England and...
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