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Projecting changes in extreme rainfall from three tropical cyclones using the design-rainfall approach

Anna M. Jalowska, ,
npj Climate and Atmospheric Science , Volume 4, pp 1-8; doi:10.1038/s41612-021-00176-9

Abstract: In the past quarter-century, Eastern North Carolina (ENC) experienced several devastating tropical cyclones that led to widespread flooding and damage. Historical climate records reflect an increasing trend in the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events across the eastern U.S., which is projected to continue to increase throughout the twenty-first century. Potential changes to extreme rainfall across ENC are explored and quantified for 2025–2100 for three tropical cyclones using an approach based on relative changes in future extreme rainfall frequencies (return periods) from dynamically downscaled projections. Maximum rainfall intensities at ‘2100’ could increase locally by 168%, with widespread regional increases in total rainfall up to 44%. Although these magnitudes exceed the consensus in the literature, the values here are comparable to the most extreme rainfall events observed in the U.S. during the early twenty-first century, which suggests that the intensity of projected future events is already a present-day reality.
Keywords: North Carolina / tropical cyclones / extreme rainfall / frequencies / century / climate records

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