With a warming climate, atmospheric rivers are likely to bring record rainfall events to mountainous regions of East Asia such as the Japanese Alps, says new modeling study from the University of Tsukuba – ScienceDaily

It is becoming increasingly clear that global warming means more than warmer temperatures. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense in many parts of the world, creating an urgent need to predict and prepare for these changes.

In a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a research team led by the University of Tsukuba has reported on the results of a model predicting more frequent and severe extreme rainfall events over East Asia caused by a weather phenomenon called “atmospheric rivers”.

As their name suggests, atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of concentrated water vapor flowing through the atmosphere. When one of these bands encounters a barrier, such as a mountain range, it can produce extreme levels of precipitation or snowfall.

Parts of East Asia have experienced devastating extreme events such as this frequently over the past decade, sometimes with significant societal costs, and understanding how this phenomenon is likely to unfold is crucial. future as the climate continues to change.

“To investigate the behavior of atmospheric rivers and extreme precipitation over East Asia under projected global warming, we used high-resolution global atmospheric circulation model simulations as well as down-reduction simulations. scale of regional climate models”, explains Professor Yoichi Kamae, first author of the study. “We compared simulations based on historical weather data from 1951 to 2010 with future simulations based on the year 2090 under a climate scenario with a 4 degree Celsius warming in global mean surface air temperature.”

Future simulations predicted enhanced water vapor transport and increased precipitation, including unprecedented and record rainfall in parts of East Asia, heavily affected by atmospheric river phenomena.

The greatest amounts of river-related atmospheric precipitation occurred on the southern and western mountain slopes of East Asia, including Japan, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and northeast China, with the highest rainfall on the southwestern slopes of the Japanese Alps.

Due to computational limitations in integrating the models, the geographic scope of this study was limited to East Asia. However, according to Professor Kamae, “Our results are likely also applicable to other mid-latitude regions where interactions between atmospheric rivers and steep mountains play a major role in rainfall, such as in western America. and Europe. These regions may also experience more frequent and intense extreme precipitation events as the climate warms.”

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Material provided by University of Tsukuba. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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