Mechanisms and reliability of future projected changes in daily precipitation
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We isolate the contribution of warming, other large-scale changes and soil moisture decline and feedbacks in driving future projected changes in daily precipitation across Europe. Our confidence in each of these mechanisms differs, so this analysis then allows us to determine an overall confidence (or reliability) in the projected changes. In winter, increases in extreme precipitation over Europe as a whole are judged to be reliable, dominated by increased atmospheric moisture with warming. At scales less than about 2,000 km changing circulation patterns could enhance or offset this increase. Additionally, over the Scandinavian mountains warming-induced circulation changes do offset the effect of increased moisture and the overall change is unreliable. In summer, increases in extreme precipitation over northern Scandinavia and decreases over the Mediterranean are reliable in the absence of considerable circulation change. Over central Europe, an increase in the proportion of summer rainfall falling as extreme events is reliable.
KeywordsClimate change Extreme rainfall Mechanisms Uncertainty Circulation change
Discussions with Adam Scaife and Erasmo Buonomo have been much appreciated, along with funding from the Joint Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) Integrated Climate Programme—DECC/Defra (GA01101), MoD (CBC/2B/0417-Annex C5), and the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme under contract GOCE-CT-2003-505539 (ENSEMBLES). We thank David Sexton and Mark Webb for designing and running, respectively, the Met Office Hadley Centre QUMP ensemble. We also acknowledge the modelling groups, PCMDI and the WCRP’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling for their roles in making available the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset. Support for this dataset is provided by the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy.
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