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Evaluation and future projections of temperature, precipitation and wind extremes over Europe in an ensemble of regional climate simulations

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Temperature, precipitation and wind extremes over Europe are examined in an ensemble of RCA3 regional climate model simulations driven by six different global climate models (ECHAM5, CCSM3, HadCM3, CNRM, BCM and IPSL) under the SRES A1B emission scenario. The extremes are expressed in terms of the 20-yr return values of annual temperature and wind extremes and seasonal precipitation extremes.

The ensemble shows reduction of recurrence time of warm extremes from 20 yr in 1961–1990 (CTL) to 1–2 yr over southern Europe and to 5 yr over Scandinavia in 2071–2100 (SCN) while cold extremes, defined for CTL, almost disappear in the future. The recurrence time of intense precipitation reduces from 20 yr in CTL to 6–10 yr in SCN over northern and central Europe in summer and even more to 2–4 yr in Scandinavia in winter. The projected changes in wind extremes have a large spread among the six simulations with a disperse tendency (1–2 m s−1) of strengthening north of 45°N and weakening south of it which is sensitive to the number of simulations in the ensemble. Changes in temperature extremes are more robust compared to those in precipitation extremes while there is less confidence on changes in wind extremes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rossby Centre, SMHI, SE 60196 Norrköping, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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