Modelling daily temperature extremes: recent climate and future changes over Europe
Probability distributions of daily maximum and minimum temperatures in a suite of ten RCMs are investigated for (1) biases compared to observations in the present day climate and (2) climate change signals compared to the simulated present day climate. The simulated inter-model differences and climate changes are also compared to the observed natural variability as reflected in some very long instrumental records. All models have been forced with driving conditions from the same global model and run for both a control period and a future scenario period following the A2 emission scenario from IPCC. We find that the bias in the fifth percentile of daily minimum temperatures in winter and at the 95th percentile of daily maximum temperature during summer is smaller than 3 (±5°C) when averaged over most (all) European sub-regions. The simulated changes in extreme temperatures both in summer and winter are larger than changes in the median for large areas. Differences between models are larger for the extremes than for mean temperatures. A comparison with historical data shows that the spread in model predicted changes in extreme temperatures is larger than the natural variability during the last centuries.