, Volume 96, Issue 1-2, pp 239-258
Date: 02 Jul 2009

An analysis of global model projections over Italy, with particular attention to the Italian Greater Alpine Region (GAR)

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Abstract

This study surveys the most recent projections of future climate change provided by 20 Atmospheric-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) participating in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3) with focus on the Italian region and in particular on the Italian Greater Alpine Region (GAR). We analyze historical and future simulations of monthly-mean surface air temperature (T) and total precipitation (P). We first compare simulated T and P from the AOGCMs with observations over Italy for the period 1951–2000, using bias indices as a metric for estimating the performance of each model. Using these bias indices and different ensemble averaging methods, we construct ensemble mean projections of future climate change over these regions under three different IPCC emission scenarios (A2, A1B, and B1). We find that the emissions pathway chosen has a greater impact on future simulated climate than the criteria used to obtain the ensemble means. Across all averaging methods and emission scenarios, the models project annual mean increase in T of 2–4°C over the period 1990–2100, with more pronounced increases in summer and warming of similar magnitude at high and low elevations areas (according to a threshold of 400 m). The models project decreases in annual-mean P over this same time period both over the Italian and GAR regions. This decrease is more pronounced over Italy, since a small increase in precipitation over the GAR is projected in the winter season.