Is there memory in precipitation?

  • Bunde A
  • Büntgen U
  • Ludescher J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Nature Climate Change | Correspondence Print Email Share/bookmark Is there memory in precipitation? Armin Bunde, Ulf Büntgen, Josef Ludescher, Jürg Luterbacher & Hans von Storch Affiliations Corresponding author Nature Climate Change 3, 174–175 (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1830 Published online 26 February 2013 Article tools PDF Citation Reprints Rights & permissions Metrics Subject terms: Databases Detection and Attribution Earth sciences Meteorology Modelling and statistics Projection and prediction To the Editor Variability in the total amounts of precipitation is known to affect ecological systems, agricultural yields and human societies among various spatial and temporal scales1. Characterizing and understanding the persistence of wet and dry conditions in the distant past gives new perspectives on contemporary climate change and its causes. Such insights should also help in devising hydro-climatological adaptation and mitigation strategies for the future. The time span of systematic meteorological measurements at the global scale is, however, mainly restricted to the 20th century2, and only a few stations have continuous records dating further back in time. Pre-instrumental information on precipitation variability therefore mainly derives from proxy-based reconstructions and output from climate model simulations, with both lines of independent evidence ideally covering the past millennium. Here we address whether these sources reflect a consistent picture of historical variability in precipitation — in fact, they do not.

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