European storminess and associated circulation weather types: future changes deduced from a multi-model ensemble of GCM simulations

Article English OPEN
Donat, M. G. ; Leckebusch, G. C. ; Pinto, J. G. ; Ulbrich, U. (2010)

A range of possible changes in the frequency and characteristics of European wind storms under future climate conditions was investigated on the basis of a multi-model ensemble of 9 coupled global climate model (GCM) simulations for the 20th and 21st centuries following the IPCC SRES A1B scenario. A multi-model approach allowed an estimation of the (un)certainties of the climate change signals. General changes in large-scale atmospheric flow were analysed, the occurrence of wind storms was quantified, and atmospheric features associated with wind storm events were considered. Identified storm days were investigated according to atmospheric circulation, associated pressure patterns, cyclone tracks and wind speed patterns. Validation against reanalysis data revealed that the GCMs are in general capable of realistically reproducing characteristics of European circulation weather types (CWTs) and wind storms. Results are given with respect to frequency of occurrence, storm-associated flow conditions, cyclone tracks and specific wind speed patterns. Under anthropogenic climate change conditions (SRES A1B scenario), increased frequency of westerly flow during winter is detected over the central European investigation area. In the ensemble mean, the number of detected wind storm days increases between 19 and 33% for 2 different measures of storminess, only 1 GCM revealed less storm days. The increased number of storm days detected in most models is disproportionately high compared to the related CWT changes. The mean intensity of cyclones associated with storm days in the ensemble mean increases by about 10 (±10)% in the Eastern Atlantic, near the British Isles and in the North Sea. Accordingly, wind speeds associated with storm events increase significantly by about 5 (±5)% over large parts of central Europe, mainly on days with westerly flow. The basic conclusions of this work remain valid if different ensemble contructions are considered, leaving out an outlier model or including multiple runs of one particular model.
  • References (55)
    55 references, page 1 of 6

    Alexandersson H, Tuomenvirta H, Schmith T, Iden K (2000) Trends of storms in NW Europe derived from an updated pressure data set. Clim Res 14:71-73

    Bärring L, von Storch H (2004) Scandinavian storminess since about 1800. Geophys Res Lett 31:L20202. doi:10.1029/ 2004GL020441

    Benedict JJ, Lee S, Feldstein SB (2004) A synoptic view of the North Atlantic Oscillation. J Atmos Sci 61:121-144

    Bengtsson L, Hodges KI, Roeckner E (2006) Storm tracks and climate change. J Clim 19:3518-3543

    Christensen JH, Hewitson B, Busuioc A, Chen A and others (2007) Whetton P regional climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, and others (eds) Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Collins M (2007) Ensembles and probabilities: a new era in the prediction of climate change. Phil Trans R Soc A 365: 1957-1970

    D'Andrea F, Tibaldi S, Blackburn M, Boer G and others (1998) Northern Hemisphere atmospheric blocking as simulated by 15 atmospheric general circulation models in the period 1979-1988. Clim Dyn 14:385-407

    Della-Marta PM, Pinto JG (2009) The statistical uncertainty of changes in winter storms over the North Atlantic and Europe in an ensemble of transient climate simulations. Geophys Res Lett 36:L14703. doi:10.1029/2009GL038557

    Demuzere M, Werner M, van Lipzig NPM, Roeckner E (2009) An analysis of present and future ECHAM5 pressure fields using a classification of circulation patterns. Int J Climatol 29:1796-1810

    Donat MG, Leckebusch GC, Pinto JG, Ulbrich U (2009) Examination of wind storms over central Europe with respect to circulation weather types and NAO phases. Int J Climatol (in press) doi:10.1002/joc.1982

  • Metrics
    0
    views in OpenAIRE
    0
    views in local repository
    56
    downloads in local repository

    The information is available from the following content providers:

    From Number Of Views Number Of Downloads
    Central Archive at the University of Reading - IRUS-UK 0 56
Share - Bookmark