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Anna Whitford

Using sub-daily extreme rainfall events for prediction.


Project title

How will the distribution and intensity of extreme precipitation events change in the future?


Project description

This project is funded by NERC as part of the ONE Planet DTP.

Sub-daily events occur at a frequency of smaller periods than days. They receive less research attention than daily and multi-day extreme precipitation events. In particular, there has been little research into the influence of synoptic scale atmospheric circulations on extreme sub-daily precipitation.

This project will fill the gap in our knowledge. We will investigate the relationship between mid-latitude large scale circulation patterns, such as upper-level cut off lows, and extreme sub-daily precipitation in Europe. To do this, we will use reanalysis data and observational rainfall datasets.

We will further our understanding of the influence of regional scale circulations. We will study the associations between the:

  • atmospheric patterns
  • seasonality of sub-daily precipitation extremes over Europe

Using regional climate models, we will then examine how these relationships may evolve under future climate change. We will also investigate the impacts of future changes in sub-daily extreme precipitation events on various socioeconomic aspects in Europe. We will particularly consider agriculture and urban flooding.

Our key objectives are to:

  • determine how alterations in synoptic scale atmospheric circulations under climate change will affect extreme precipitation occurrence and intensity
  • identify potential impacts of these changes in precipitation events

The research will help to identify features which we can use as predictors of precipitation extremes.