Heavy precipitation events over the Euro-Mediterranean region in a warmer climate: results from CMIP5 models
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Possible changes in the intensity of heavy precipitation events at the end of the twenty-first century over the Euro-Mediterranean region are investigated, using a subset of numerical climate simulations taking part to the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). As a measure of the intensity associated with heavy precipitation events, we use the difference between the 99th and the 90th percentiles. Despite a slight tendency to underestimate the observed heavy precipitation intensity during summer and to overestimate it during winter, the considered CMIP5 models well represent the observed patterns of the defined 99th–90th percentile metric during both seasons for the 1997–2005 period over the Euro-Mediterranean region. Over the investigated domain, an increase of the width of the right tail of the precipitation distribution is projected in a warmer climate, even over regions where nearly the entire precipitation distribution becomes dryer. This is the case of the European domain within the 45N–55N belt.
KeywordsClimate change Precipitation Extreme events Europe
The research leading to these results has received funding from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea under the GEMINA project, by the Project of strategic Interest NextData of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (http://www.nextdataproject.it) and by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under Grant Agreement 243888 (FUME Project-Forest fires under climate, social and economic changes in Europe, the Mediterranean and other fire-affected areas of the world). We also acknowledge the World Climate Research Programme’s Working Group on Coupled Modelling, which is responsible for CMIP, and we thank the climate modelling groups for producing and making available their model output. For CMIP, the US Department of Energy’s Programme for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison provided coordinating support and led development of software infrastructure in partnership with the Global Organization for Earth System Science Portals.
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