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Title: Influence of the freezing level on atmospheric rivers in High Mountain Asia: WRF case studies of orographic precipitation extremes

Atmospheric rivers (ARs) reach High Mountain Asia (HMA) about 10 days per month during the winter and spring, resulting in about 20 mm day$$^{-1}$$-1of precipitation. However, a few events may exceed 100 mm day$$^{-1}$$-1, providing most of the total winter precipitation and increasing the risk of precipitation-triggered landslides and flooding, particularly when the height of the height of the 0 $$^{\circ }$$C isotherm, or freezing level is above-average. This study shows that from 1979 to 2015, integrated water vapor transport (IVT) during ARs that reach Western HMA has increased 16% while the freezing level has increased up to 35 m. HMA ARs that have an above-average freezing level result in 10–40% less frozen precipitation compared to ARs with a below-average freezing level. To evaluate the importance of these trends in the characteristics of ARs, we investigate mesoscale processes leading to orographic precipitation using Advanced Weather Research and Forecasting (ARW-WRF) simulations at 6.7 km spatial resolution. We contrast two above- and below- average freezing level AR events with otherwise broadly similar characteristics and show that with a 50–600 m increase in freezing level, the above-average AR resulted in 10–70% less frozen precipitation than the below-average event. This study contributes to a better understanding of climate change-related impacts within HMA’s hydrological cycle and the associated hazards to vulnerable communities living in the region.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Climate Dynamics
Medium: X Size: p. 589-607
["p. 589-607"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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