Title: Extreme Temperatures and Precipitation in Europe: Analysis of a High-Resolution Climate Change Scenario
Authors: DANKERS RUTGERHIEDERER ROLAND
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC Publication N°: JRC44124
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23291 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC44124
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Future climate change is generally believed to lead to an increase in climate variability and in the frequency and intensity of extreme events. In this report we analyse the changes in variability and extremes in temperature and precipitation in Europe by the end of this century, based on high-resolution (12 km) simulations of the regional climate model HIRHAM. The results suggest a general trend towards higher temperatures at the end of the 21st century. The magnitude of the changes is, however, not uniform across Europe and varies between seasons. Higher winter temperatures are prevalent in Eastern Europe and in the Alps, while higher summer temperatures mostly affect southern Europe. Also the changes in temperature variability differ between northern and southern Europe and between seasons. In winter the variability in the mean daily temperature decreases considerably in north-eastern Europe, while in summer there is an increase predominantly in southern Europe. Hot summer days and tropical nights become common in areas where such events were previously rare, e.g. in London and Stockholm. While July remains the hottest month in general, the changes in temperature are larger in August. This is also the month with the largest increase in extreme summer temperatures and the occurrence of heat waves. The changes in precipitation are very different between southern and northern Europe. In the south, the annual rainfall is generally decreasing, there is a higher risk of longer dry spells, the differences between the years are getting larger, and arid and semi-arid areas are expanding. In northern Europe, on the other hand, the precipitation amounts are generally increasing, particularly in winter. In between is a broad region where, on an annual basis, the changes are fairly small, but where the differences between the seasons are more pronounced: winter and spring are getting wetter, while summer and, to a lesser extent, autumn are getting drier. On rain days the intensity and variability of the precipitation shows a general increase, even in areas that are getting much drier on average. What is more, the rise in the precipitation extremes tends to be stronger than in the average intensity. Considerably increases in extreme multiday precipitation amounts may be very local, but occur almost everywhere across Europe and in every season, except for summer in southern and western Europe. These findings support the conclusions of earlier studies that a warmer climate will result in a higher incidence of heat waves, less summer precipitation and at the same time higher rainfall intensities throughout much of Europe.
JRC Institute:Institute for Environment and Sustainability

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