Changes of western European heat wave characteristics projected by the CMIP5 ensemble
- 831 Downloads
We investigate heat waves defined as periods of at least 3 consecutive days of extremely high daily maximum temperature affecting at least 30 % of western Europe. This definition has been chosen to select heat waves that might impact western European electricity supply. Even though not all such heat waves threaten it, the definition allows to identify a sufficient number of events, the strongest being potentially harmful. The heat waves are characterised by their duration, spatial extent, intensity and severity. The heat wave characteristics are calculated for historical and future climate based on results of climate model simulations conducted during the 5th Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). The uncertainty of future anthropogenic forcing is taken into account by analysing results for the Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The historical simulations are evaluated against the EOBS gridded station data. The CMIP5 ensemble median captures well the observed mean heat wave characteristics. However, no model simulates a heat wave as severe as observed during August 2003. Under future climate conditions, the heat waves become more frequent and have higher mean duration, extent and intensity. The ensemble spread is larger than the scenario uncertainty. The shift of the temperature distribution is more important for the increase of the cumulative heat wave severity than the broadening of the temperature distribution. However, the broadening leads to an amplification of the cumulative heat wave severity by a factor of 1.7 for RCP4.5 and 1.5 for RCP8.5.
KeywordsHeat waves CMIP5 Climate projections Uncertainties Electricity supply
The authors are grateful to modeling groups providing the CMIP5 dataset and thank S. Tyteca at CNRM-GAME for data handling. This work was supported by the Climate-KIC E3P and the FP7 EUCLIPSE projects. The ENSEMBLES data used in this work were funded by the EU FP6 Integrated Project ENSEMBLES (Contract 505539), whose support is gratefully acknowledged. Sylvie Parey (EDF), Julien Najac (EDF) and Pascal Yiou (LSCE) are acknowledged for helpful discussions on the definition of heat waves relevant for electricity supply. Two anonymous reviewers are acknowledged for their helpful comments.
- Barbosa SM, Scotto MG, Alonso AM (2011) Summarising changes in air temperature over Central Europe by quantile regression and clustering. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 11(12):3227–3233. doi: 10.5194/nhess-11-3227-2011. http://www.nat-hazards-earth-syst-sci.net/11/3227/2011/
- Barriopedro D, Fischer EM, Luterbacher J, Trigo RM, García-Herrera R (2011) The hot summer of 2010: Redrawing the temperature record map of Europe. Science 332(6026):220–224. doi: 10.1126/science.1201224. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6026/220.abstract. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6026/220.full.pdf
- Beniston M, Stephenson D, Christensen O, Ferro C, Frei C, Goyette S, Halsnaes K, Holt T, Jylhä K, Koffi B, Palutikof J, Scholl R, Semmler T, Woth K (2007) Future extreme events in European climate: an exploration of regional climate model projections. Clim Change 81(1):71–95. doi: 10.1007/s10584-006-9226-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Burkett VR, Suarez AG, Bindi M, Conde C, Mukerji R, Prather MJ, Clair ALS, Yohe GW (2014) Point of departure. In: Field CB, Barros VR, Dokken DJ, Mach KJ, Mastrandrea MD, Bilir TE, Chatterjee M, Ebi KL, Estrada YO, Genova RC, Girma B, Kissel ES, Levy AN, MacCracken S, Mastrandrea PR, White LL (eds) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of working group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel of climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 169–194Google Scholar
- Hoffman ME, Feldman M (1981) Calculation of the thermal response of buildings by the total thermal time constant method. Build Environ 16(2):71–85. doi: 10.1016/0360-1323(81)90023-8. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0360132381900238
- Meehl GA, Tebaldi C (2004) More intense, more frequent, and longer lasting heat waves in the 21st century. Science 305(5686):994–997. doi: 10.1126/science.1098704. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/305/5686/994.abstract. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/305/5686/994.full.pdf
- Schlünzen KH, Grawe D, Bohnenstengel SI, Schlüter I, Koppmann R (2011) Joint modelling of obstacle induced and mesoscale changes-current limits and challenges. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 99(4):217–225. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167610511000110
- Voldoire A, Sanchez-Gomez E, Salas y Mélia D, Decharme B, Cassou C, Sénési S, Valcke S, Beau I, Alias A, Chevallier M, Déqué M, Deshayes J, Douville H, Fernandez E, Madec G, Maisonnave E, Moine MP, Planton S, Saint-Martin D, Szopa S, Tyteca S, Alkama R, Belamari S, Braun A, Coquart L, Chauvin F (2013) The CNRM-CM51 global climate model description and basic evaluation. Clim Dyn 40(9–10):2091–2121. doi: 10.1007/s00382-011-1259-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van Vuuren D, Edmonds J, Kainuma M, Riahi K, Thomson A, Hibbard K, Hurtt G, Kram T, Krey V, Lamarque JF, Masui T, Meinshausen M, Nakicenovic N, Smith S, Rose S (2011) The representative concentration pathways: an overview. Clim Change 109(1–2):5–31. doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar