Regime changes in atmospheric moisture under climate change

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Jones, Roger ORCID: 0000-0001-6970-2797 and Ricketts, James ORCID: 0000-0003-0608-5618 (2022) Regime changes in atmospheric moisture under climate change. Atmosphere, 13 (10). ISSN 2073-4433


Recent work attributing decadal regime changes in temperature to radiative forcing is extended to atmospheric moisture. Temperature, and specific and relative humidity (T, q, RH) from the HadISDH data set were analyzed for regime shifts using the bivariate test. Most shifts in q and T for global and northern hemisphere (NH), and tropical land occurred within a year of each other. Only one shift of q was recorded in the southern hemisphere (SH). RH increased in the NH in 1990–91 and decreased in a series of shifts from the late 1990s, while in the SH decreased from 2001. The tropics have remained neutral, shifting negative over land and positive over the ocean. The global decreases in 2001 and 2011 was −0.56%. Global RH from 32 climate models from the CMIP5 RCP4.5 archive all contained regime shifts but only 4 reached or exceeded the observed decreases by 2100, the earliest in 2056. Regime shifts in RH and fire danger over Australia are consistent with the SH decreases in RH, shifting within one year of global fire season length in 2002, showing that impacts are also being underestimated by current analyses. Methods for nonlinear attribution and the contributing processes for nonlinear change are discussed. These results show that developing a better understanding of nonlinear change in moisture-related climate risk is an urgent task.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.3390/atmos13101577
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3701 Atmospheric sciences
Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3702 Climate change science
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords climate change, atmosphere, humidity, climate models
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
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