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We present evidence of increasing persistence in daily precipitation in the northeastern United States that suggests that global circulation changes are affecting regional precipitation patterns. Meteorological data from 222 stations in 10 northeastern states are analyzed using Markov chain parameter estimates to demonstrate that a significant mode of precipitation variability is the persistence of precipitation events. We find that the largest region‐wide trend in wet persistence (i.e., the probability of precipitation in 1 day and given precipitation in the preceding day) occurs in June (+0.9% probability per decade over all stations). We also find that the study region is experiencing an increase in the magnitude of high‐intensity precipitation events. The largest increases in the 95th percentile of daily precipitation occurred in April with a trend of +0.7 mm/d/decade. We discuss the implications of the observed precipitation signals for watershed hydrology and flood risk.

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©2015. American Geophysical Union.



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