Climate Change: The Next Generation: Richard P. Allan & Brian J. Soden, Atmospheric warming and the amplification of precipitation extremes Science Magazine: Science Express / 7 August 2008 / Page 2 / 10.1126/science.116078 Atmospheric Warming and the Amplification of Precipitation Extremes Richard P. Allan¹* and Brian J. Soden² ¹Environmental Systems Science Centre, University of Reading, Berkshire, RG6 6AL, U.K. ²Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, FL 33149, USA. Abstract Climate models suggest that extreme precipitation events will become more common in an anthropogenically warmed climate. However observational limitations have hindered a direct evaluation of model projected changes in extreme precipitation. Here we use satellite observations and model simulations to examine the response of tropical precipitation events to naturally driven changes in surface temperature and atmospheric moisture content. These observations reveal a distinct link between rainfall extremes and temperature, with heavy rain events increasing during warm periods and decreasing during cold periods. Furthermore, the observed amplification of rainfall extremes is found to be larger than predicted by models, implying that projections of future changes in rainfall extremes due to anthropogenic global warming may be underestimated.