Climate Dynamics

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 409–423 | Cite as

Extreme midlatitude cyclones and their implications for precipitation and wind speed extremes in simulations of the Maunder Minimum versus present day conditions

  • C. C. RaibleEmail author
  • M. Yoshimori
  • T. F. Stocker
  • C. Casty


Extreme midlatitude cyclone characteristics, precipitation, wind speed events, their inter-relationships, and the connection to large-scale atmospheric patterns are investigated in simulations of a prolonged cold period, known as the Maunder Minimum from 1640 to 1715 and compared with today. An ensemble of six simulations for the Maunder Minimum as well as a control simulation for perpetual 1990 conditions are carried out with a coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, i.e., the Climate Community System Model (CCSM). The comparison of the simulations shows that in a climate state colder than today the occurrence of cyclones, the extreme events of precipitation and wind speed shift southward in all seasons in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. The extremes of cyclone intensity increases significantly in winter in almost all regions, which is related to a stronger meridional temperature gradient and an increase in lower tropospheric baroclinicity. Extremes of cyclone intensity in subregions of the North Atlantic are related to extremes in precipitation and in wind speed during winter. Moreover, extremes of cyclone intensity are also connected to distinct large-scale atmospheric patterns for the different subregions, but these relationships vanish during summer. Analyzing the mean 1,000 hPa geopotential height change of the Maunder Minimum simulations compared with the control simulation, we find a similar pattern as the correlation pattern with the cyclone intensity index of the southern Europe cyclones. This illustrates that changes in the atmospheric high-frequency, i.e., the simulated southward shift of cyclones in the North Atlantic and the related increase of extreme precipitation and wind speed in particular in the Mediterranean in winter, are associated with large-scale atmospheric circulation changes.


Wind Speed Cyclone North Atlantic Oscillation Index Maunder Minimum Cyclone Track 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Guido Poliwoda for the historical references. This work is supported by the National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) on Climate funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Simulations are carried out at the Swiss National Computing Centre in Manno, Switzerland. CC is supported by the European Project entitled “Patterns of Climate Variability in the North Atlantic (PACLIVA, EVR1-2002-000413)”. This is IPRC contribution # 389. TFS is partially supported by the IPRC Visitor Program. ERA-40 reanalysis data were provided by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. C. Raible
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Yoshimori
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. F. Stocker
    • 1
    • 3
  • C. Casty
    • 1
  1. 1.Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics InstituteUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Center for Environmental PredictionRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  3. 3.International Pacific Research Center, SOESTUniversity of Hawai’iHonoluluUSA

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