Consistent scale-dependency of future increases in hourly extreme precipitation in two convection-permitting climate models

  • Samuel HelsenEmail author
  • Nicole P. M. van Lipzig
  • Matthias Demuzere
  • Sam Vanden Broucke
  • Steven Caluwaerts
  • Lesley De Cruz
  • Rozemien De Troch
  • Rafiq Hamdi
  • Piet Termonia
  • Bert Van Schaeybroeck
  • Hendrik Wouters


Convection-permitting models (CPMs) have been proven successful in simulating extreme precipitation statistics. However, when such models are used to study climate change, contrasting sensitivities with respect to resolution (CPM vs. models with parameterized convection) are found for different parts of the world. In this study, we explore to which extent this contrasting sensitivity is due to the specific characteristics of the model or due to the characteristics of the region. Therefore, we examine the results of 360 years of climate model data from two different climate models (COSMO-CLM driven by EC-EARTH and ALARO-0 driven by CNRM ARPEGE) both at convection-permitting scale (CPS, ~ 3 km resolution) and non-convection-permitting scale (non-CPS, 12.5 km resolution) over two distinct regions (flatland vs. hilly region) in Belgium. We found that both models show an overall consistent scale-dependency of the future increase in hourly extreme precipitation for day-time. More specifically, both models yield a larger discrepancy in the day-time climate change signal between CPS and non-CPS for extreme precipitation over flatland (Flanders) than for orographically induced extreme precipitation (Ardennes). This result is interesting, since both RCMs are very different (e.g., in terms of model physics and driving GCM) and use very different ways to represent deep convection processes. Despite those model differences, the scale-dependency of projected precipitation extremes is surprisingly similar in both models, suggesting that the this scale-dependency is more dependent on the characteristics of the region, than on the model used.

Keywords Convection-permitting simulations COSMO-CLM ALARO-0 Extreme hourly precipitation Climate change Parameterization 



The work presented here received funding from the Belgian federal government (Belgian Science Policy Office project BR/143/A2/ and by the European Research Council (ERC), under Grant Agreement No. 715254 (DRY-2-DRY). The computational resources and services used in this work were provided by the VSC (Flemish Supercomputer Center), funded by the Research Foundation –Flanders (FWO) and the Flemish Government—department EWI. The hourly observational data was provided by VMM (Flemish Environmental Agency). These datasets are available at these institutions upon request. The climate model data used in this study can be requested through the project website ( Finally, we would especially like to thank Erik Van Meijgaard, for providing us with the EC-EARTH GCM data, and for several constructive discussions.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1436 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Helsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole P. M. van Lipzig
    • 1
  • Matthias Demuzere
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Sam Vanden Broucke
    • 1
  • Steven Caluwaerts
    • 4
  • Lesley De Cruz
    • 3
  • Rozemien De Troch
    • 3
  • Rafiq Hamdi
    • 3
  • Piet Termonia
    • 3
  • Bert Van Schaeybroeck
    • 3
  • Hendrik Wouters
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Division Geography and Tourism, Department Earth and Environmental SciencesKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Hydrology and Water ManagementGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Royal Meteorological InstituteUccleBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Physics and AstronomyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  5. 5.Department of GeographyRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  6. 6.Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)MolBelgium

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