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Adv. Sci. Res., 15, 117-126, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/asr-15-117-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
 
19 Jun 2018
The INTENSE project: using observations and models to understand the past, present and future of sub-daily rainfall extremes
Stephen Blenkinsop1, Hayley J. Fowler1, Renaud Barbero2, Steven C. Chan1, Selma B. Guerreiro1, Elizabeth Kendon3, Geert Lenderink4, Elizabeth Lewis1, Xiao-Feng Li1, Seth Westra5, Lisa Alexander6, Richard P. Allan7, Peter Berg8, Robert J. H. Dunn3, Marie Ekström9, Jason P. Evans6, Greg Holland10, Richard Jones3, Erik Kjellström8, Albert Klein-Tank4, Dennis Lettenmaier11, Vimal Mishra12, Andreas F. Prein10, Justin Sheffield13, and Mari R. Tye10 1School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
2National Research Institute of Science & Technology for Environment & Agriculture, Aix-en-Provence, France
3Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK
4Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, De Bilt, the Netherlands
5School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
6Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
7Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
8Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden
9School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
10National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
11Department of Geography, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
12Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gandhinagar, India
13Geography and Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Abstract. Historical in situ sub-daily rainfall observations are essential for the understanding of short-duration rainfall extremes but records are typically not readily accessible and data are often subject to errors and inhomogeneities. Furthermore, these events are poorly quantified in projections of future climate change making adaptation to the risk of flash flooding problematic. Consequently, knowledge of the processes contributing to intense, short-duration rainfall is less complete compared with those on daily timescales. The INTENSE project is addressing this global challenge by undertaking a data collection initiative that is coupled with advances in high-resolution climate modelling to better understand key processes and likely future change. The project has so far acquired data from over 23 000 rain gauges for its global sub-daily rainfall dataset (GSDR) and has provided evidence of an intensification of hourly extremes over the US. Studies of these observations, combined with model simulations, will continue to advance our understanding of the role of local-scale thermodynamics and large-scale atmospheric circulation in the generation of these events and how these might change in the future.
Citation: Blenkinsop, S., Fowler, H. J., Barbero, R., Chan, S. C., Guerreiro, S. B., Kendon, E., Lenderink, G., Lewis, E., Li, X.-F., Westra, S., Alexander, L., Allan, R. P., Berg, P., Dunn, R. J. H., Ekström, M., Evans, J. P., Holland, G., Jones, R., Kjellström, E., Klein-Tank, A., Lettenmaier, D., Mishra, V., Prein, A. F., Sheffield, J., and Tye, M. R.: The INTENSE project: using observations and models to understand the past, present and future of sub-daily rainfall extremes, Adv. Sci. Res., 15, 117-126, https://doi.org/10.5194/asr-15-117-2018, 2018.
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Measurements of sub-daily (e.g. hourly) rainfall totals are essential if we are to understand short, intense bursts of rainfall that cause flash floods. We might expect the intensity of such events to increase in a warming climate but these are poorly realised in projections of future climate change. The INTENSE project is collating a global dataset of hourly rainfall measurements and linking with new developments in climate models to understand the characteristics and causes of these events.
Measurements of sub-daily (e.g. hourly) rainfall totals are essential if we are to understand...
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