, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 13-31
Date: 14 Nov 2003

European climate in the late twenty-first century: regional simulations with two driving global models and two forcing scenarios

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Abstract

A basic analysis is presented for a series of regional climate change simulations that were conducted by the Swedish Rossby Centre and contribute to the PRUDENCE (Prediction of Regional scenarios and Uncertainties for Defining EuropeaN Climate change risks and Effects) project. For each of the two driving global models HadAM3H and ECHAM4/OPYC3, a 30-year control run and two 30-year scenario runs (based on the SRES A2 and B2 emission scenarios) were made with the regional model. In this way, four realizations of climate change from 1961–1990 to 2071–2100 were obtained. The simulated changes are larger for the A2 than the B2 scenario (although with few qualitative differences) and in most cases in the ECHAM4/OPYC3-driven (RE) than in the HadAM3H-driven (RH) regional simulations. In all the scenario runs, the warming in northern Europe is largest in winter or late autumn. In central and southern Europe, the warming peaks in summer when it locally reaches 10 °C in the RE-A2 simulation and 6–7 °C in the RH-A2 and RE-B2 simulations. The four simulations agree on a general increase in precipitation in northern Europe especially in winter and on a general decrease in precipitation in southern and central Europe in summer, but the magnitude and the geographical patterns of the change differ markedly between RH and RE. This reflects very different changes in the atmospheric circulation during the winter half-year, which also lead to quite different simulated changes in windiness. All four simulations show a large increase in the lowest minimum temperatures in northern, central and eastern Europe, most likely due to reduced snow cover. Extreme daily precipitation increases even in most of those areas where the mean annual precipitation decreases.