Climate Dynamics

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 265–276

Uncertainties in European summer precipitation changes: role of large scale circulation

  • Julien Boé
  • Laurent Terray
  • Christophe Cassou
  • Julien Najac
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00382-008-0474-7

Cite this article as:
Boé, J., Terray, L., Cassou, C. et al. Clim Dyn (2009) 33: 265. doi:10.1007/s00382-008-0474-7

Abstract

Climate models suggest that anthropogenic emissions are likely to induce an important drying during summer over most of Europe in the late 21st century. However, the amplitude of the associated decrease in precipitation strongly varies among the different climate models. In order to reduce this spread, it is first necessary to identify its causes and the associated physical mechanisms. Consequently, the focus of this paper is to better estimate the role of large scale circulation (LSC) in precipitation changes over Europe using a multi-model framework and then to characterize the LSC changes using the weather regime paradigm. We show that LSC changes directly lead to a decrease of precipitation over northwestern Europe. This circulation-driven decrease in rainfall is mainly linked to an increase (decrease) of the occurrence of positive (negative) phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation regime. LSC is also responsible for a significant part of the models spread in precipitation changes over these regions. Over southern Europe, the role of LSC changes on multi-model mean precipitation changes is generally weak. We also show that the precipitation anomalies directly induced by LSC modifications seem to be further amplified through local feedbacks.

Keywords

Regional climatePrecipitation changesLarge scale circulationGlobal change

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julien Boé
    • 1
  • Laurent Terray
    • 1
  • Christophe Cassou
    • 1
  • Julien Najac
    • 1
  1. 1.Climate Modelling and Global Change Team, CERFACS/CNRS, SUC URA1875Toulouse Cedex 1France