A Temperature-Scaling Approach for Projecting Changes in Short Duration Rainfall Extremes from GCM Data


Current and future urban flooding is influenced by changes in short-duration rainfall intensities. Conventional approaches to projecting rainfall extremes are based on precipitation projections taken from General Circulation Models (GCM) or Regional Climate Models (RCM). However, these and more complex and reliable climate simulations are not yet available for many locations around the world. In this work, we test an approach that projects future rainfall extremes by scaling the empirical relation between dew-point temperature and hourly rainfall and projected changes in dew-point temperature from the EC-Earth GCM. These projections are developed for the RCP 8.5 scenario and are applied to a case study in the Netherlands. The shift in intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves shows that a 100-year (hourly) rainfall event today could become a 73-year event (GCM), but could become as frequent as a 30-year (temperature-scaling) in the period 2071–2100. While more advanced methods can help to further constrain future changes in rainfall extremes, the temperature-scaling approach can be of use in practical applications in urban flood risk and design studies for locations where no high-resolution precipitation projections are available.
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