Extreme rainfall events in one city or region are connected to the same kind of events thousands of kilometers away, an international team of experts finds in a study now published in one of the world’s leading scientific journals, Nature. They discovered a global connection pattern of extreme rainfall – this could eventually improve weather forecasts and hence help to limit damages and protect people. Extreme rainfall events are on the rise due to human-caused climate change, which makes the study even more relevant.
The researchers developed a new method rooted in complex systems science to analyze satellite data. The revealed extreme rainfall patterns are likely linked to giant airflows known as jetstreams that circle the globe high up in the atmosphere, forming huge waves between the Equator and the Poles.
Each year, extreme rainfall events cause devastation around the globe. For example, extreme rainfall has led to particularly severe flashfloods and mudslides in North India and Pakistan in recent years.
“We unravel a global teleconnection pattern that governs the occurrence of extreme rainfall events, and identify specific types of atmospheric waves as their likely main cause. The gained insights into atmospheric dynamics and the relation to extreme rainfall events will help increase our capability to predict such events,” says Niklas Boers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Imperial College London, lead-author of the new study.
Links between the Asian Monsoon and events for example in Europe
“The new technique applied to satellite data shows very surprising relationships between extreme rainfall events in different regions around the world,” says co-author Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College.
“For example, extreme events in the South Asian Summer Monsoon are, on average, linked to events in the East Asian, African, European and North American regions. Although rains in Europe do not cause the rain in Pakistan and India, they belong to the same atmospheric wave pattern, with the European rains being triggered first. This should provide a strong test for weather and climate models and gives promise of better predictions.”
High-end mathematics and interdisciplinary science yield results with huge practical relevance
By breaking the globe into a grid, the team could see where events occurred and statistically determine their relations – even if the events did not occur at the same time. The researchers could thereby detect so far invisible patterns.
“This frontier interdisciplinary study, combining complex network theory and atmospheric science, yields breakthrough insights in studying extreme rainfall,” says co-author Jürgen Kurths, also from PIK.
“Complexity science can hence not only be applied to the spread of epidemics or to opinion formation in social networks, but also to improve our understanding of the atmosphere. Thus our high-end mathematical methods in fact produce results of tremendous practical relevance that can help to keep people safe in the face of climate change and other great challenges of our times.”
Article: Niklas Boers, Bedartha Goswami, Aljoscha Rheinwalt, Bodo Bookhagen, Brian Hoskins, Jürgen Kurths (2019): Complex networks reveal global pattern of extreme-rainfall teleconnections. Nature. [DOI:10.1038/s41586-018-0872-x]
Weblink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0872-x
For further information please contact:
PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
Jonas Viering | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Risk of infection with COVID-19 from singing: First results of aerosol study with the Bavarian Radio Chorus
03.07.2020 | Klinikum der Universität München
Age research: A low level of the stress hormone cortisol contributes to the ageing process
01.07.2020 | Universität des Saarlandes
New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices
Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...
Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class
In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
A promising operating mode for the plasma of a future power plant has been developed at the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma...
07.07.2020 | Event News
02.07.2020 | Event News
19.05.2020 | Event News
10.07.2020 | Life Sciences
10.07.2020 | Materials Sciences
10.07.2020 | Life Sciences