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Researchers have analyzed more than five decades of data from across North America to find that changes in non-extreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized. And the changes are greater than those that have occurred with extreme precipitation.
Non-extreme precipitation can have a strong effect on ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure design and resource management, the scientists say, pointing to a need to examine precipitation in a more nuanced, multifaceted way.
Study - Precipitation - Events - Extremes - Focus
"This study shows that everyday precipitation events -- not just the extremes that have been the focus of most studies -- are changing," said University of Illinois scientist Praveen Kumar, principal investigator of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Intensively Managed Landscapes Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), one of nine such NSF CZOs.
"It's not just the amount of rainfall that's important," said Kumar, "it's the duration of that rainfall and the amount of time between rainfall and dry periods."
Study - Scientific - Reports - Type - Susana
The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the most comprehensive of its type, said co-author Susana Roque-Malo, also of the University of Illinois.
"We used data from more than 3,000 weather stations," said Roque-Malo. "There are a few other studies that use a similar methodology, but they have focused on smaller sections of the continent or parts of Europe."
Researchers - Regions - Microclimate - Climate - Elevation
The researchers identified several regions where the microclimate -- local climate determined by elevation and ecosystem -- appears to have a significant effect on precipitation trends.
"This study confirms that there is more to climate than the number and size of extreme...
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