The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) is one of the largest hydroelectric projects in the world. Monitoring the spatiotemporal distribution of extreme precipitation offers valuable information for adaptation and mitigation strategies and reservoir management schemes. This study examined variations in extreme precipitation over the Three Gorges Reservoir area (TGRA) in China to investigate the potential role of climate warming and Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR). The trends in extreme precipitation over the TGRA were investigated using the iterative-based Mann–Kendall (MK) test and Sen’s slope estimator, based on weather station daily data series and TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) data series. The mean and density distribution of extreme precipitation indices between pre-dam and post-dam, pre-1985 and post-1985, and near and distant reservoir area were assessed by the Mann–Whitney test and the Kolmogorov–Smirnov test. The ratio of extreme precipitation to non-extreme precipitation became larger. The precipitation was characterized by increases in heavy precipitation as well as decreases in light and moderate rain. Comparing extreme precipitation indices between pre-1985 (cooling) and post-1985 (warming) indicated extreme precipitation has changed to become heavier. Under climate warming, the precipitation amount corresponding to more than the 95th percentile increased at the rate of 6.48%/°C. Results from comparing extreme precipitation for the pre- and post-dam, near reservoir area (NRA) and away from the reservoir area (ARA) imply an insignificant role of the TGR on rainfall extremes over the TGRA. Moreover, the impoundment of TGR did not exert detectable impacts on the surface relative humidity (RH) and water vapor pressure (WP).
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