Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Journal or Book Title
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
We analyze physical processes leading to daily wintertime (December, January, and February) extreme precipitation events in Alaska between 1986 and 2005. This is done by applying self‐organizing maps to environmental conditions corresponding to National Centers for Environmental Information precipitation, using the European Centre for Medium‐Range Weather Forecasts reanalysis (ERA‐Interim) and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) global climate selected Global climate model (GCM; selected GCMs). We focus on widespread extreme events, defined as the top 0.1% of daily precipitation occurring on at least six grid boxes on the same day. The self‐organizing maps methodology allows identifying large‐scale circulations conducive to extreme events. This methodology identifies distinctive circulation patterns conducive to producing extreme events with a trough west of Alaska leading to south or southwest flow across the state. Extreme events occur along the windward (southern) side of the Alaska Range due to uplift by the mountains in the ERA‐Interim and in all models. In the National Centers for Environmental Information observations, precipitation rates are greater than in any of the selected GCMs. Simulated extreme precipitation decreases as model resolution decreases, and our study suggests that the smoothness of model topography is a reason for the scaling between model precipitation rate and model resolution.
American Geophysical Union
Smalley, Kevin M.; Glisan, Justin M.; and Gutowski, William J. Jr., "Alaska Daily Extreme Precipitation Processes in a Subset of CMIP5 Global Climate Models" (2019). Geological and Atmospheric Sciences Publications. 281.