Evolution of precipitation distribution 1979-2012

These are histograms of the monthly precipitation worldwide for 1979-1988 and 2003-2012 from MERRA, made by my new best friend, Giovanni, the data portal cared for by NASA NES DISC

comparison of 1979-1988 with 2003-2012

The x axes units are roughly an inch a month.

Amazing, isn't it? The distribution has broadened and shifted to the right, just like in the temperature data exhibited by Hansen in 2011 in the climate dice paper, Cimate Dice and updated at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/719139main_2012_GISTEMP_summary.pdf

Shifting temperature distributions

Now look at projections for the return time for 20th century 100 yr floods in the period 2071-2100 under the CMIP5 RCP8.5 scenarios. from Hirabayashi et al., Nature Climate Change, DOI:10.1038/NCLIMATE1911

Increasing flood events

South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa are worst hit. The recurrence time for a twentieth century 100 yr flood drops to ten years or below for the Lena, Congo, Nile, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mekong and Murray-Darling.

Back to the past, here are decadal monthly precipitation data gridded at 2/3 x 1/2 degree, displayed as histograms. Note the bulge forming at higher precipitation in the last frame. Histograms of decadal precipitation data

For a look at patterns in E. China, see here.