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Abhishekh Kumar Srivastava, Richard Grotjahn, Paul Aaron Ullrich, and Mojtaba Sadegh

Abstract

Traditional multimodel methods for estimating future changes in precipitation intensity, duration, and frequency (IDF) curves rely on mean or median of models’ IDF estimates. Such multimodel estimates are impaired by large estimation uncertainty, shadowing their efficacy in planning efforts. Here, assuming that each climate model is one representation of the underlying data generating process, i.e., the Earth system, we propose a novel extension of current methods through pooling model data: (i) evaluate performance of climate models in simulating the spatial and temporal variability of the observed annual maximum precipitation (AMP), (ii) bias-correct and pool historical and future AMP data of reasonably performing models, and (iii) compute IDF estimates in a nonstationary framework from pooled historical and future model data. Pooling enhances fitting of the extreme value distribution to the data and assumes that data from reasonably performing models represent samples from the “true” underlying data generating distribution. Through Monte Carlo simulations with synthetic data, we show that return periods derived from pooled data have smaller biases and lesser uncertainty than those derived from ensembles of individual model data. We apply this method to NA-CORDEX models to estimate changes in 24-h precipitation intensity–frequency (PIF) estimates over the Susquehanna watershed and Florida peninsula. Our approach identifies significant future changes at more stations compared to median-based PIF estimates. The analysis suggests that almost all stations over the Susquehanna and at least two-thirds of the stations over the Florida peninsula will observe significant increases in 24-h precipitation for 2–100-yr return periods.

Open access