Future evolution of extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean

Abstract

Mediterranean basins can be impacted by severe floods caused by extreme rainfall, and there is a growing awareness about the possible increase in these heavy rainfall events due to climate change. In this study, the climate change impacts on extreme daily precipitation in 102 catchments covering the whole Mediterranean basin are investigated using nonstationary extreme value model applied to annual maximum precipitation in an ensemble of high-resolution regional climate model (RCM) simulations from the Euro-CORDEX experiment. Results indicate contrasted trends, with significant increasing trends in Northern catchments and conversely decreasing trends in Southern catchments. For most cases, the time of signal emergence for these trends is before the year 2000. The same spatial pattern is obtained under the two climate scenarios considered (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and in most RCM simulations, suggesting a robust climate change signal. The strongest multi-model agreement concerns the positive trends, which can exceed + 20% by the end of the twenty-first century in some simulations, impacting South France, North Italy, and the Balkans. For these areas, society-relevant strong impacts of such Mediterranean extreme precipitation changes could be expected in particular concerning flood-related damages.

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Acknowledgements

The data used in the present work has been downloaded from the ESGF database. The authors wish to thank the participants of the Euro-CORDEX initiative. This work is a contribution to the HYdrological cycle in The Mediterranean EXperiment (HyMeX) program, through INSU-MISTRALS support. S. Somot work is supported by the HORIZON2020 EUCP project. The authors wish to acknowledge the two reviewers for their constructive comments.

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Tramblay, Y., Somot, S. Future evolution of extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean. Climatic Change 151, 289–302 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-018-2300-5

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