Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better estimates for future extreme precipitation in Europe

29.03.2006

Researchers in Switzerland report that extreme rains in Europe may grow stronger and more frequent in the near future and have significant effects on the region’s infrastructure and natural systems. They aggregated a number of regional European climate models to produce more refined estimates of increases in precipitation extremes over most of the continent by the late 21st century than were previously available. Their research was published on 24 March in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Christoph Frei and his coauthors at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom used a unique set of regional climate model simulations and statistical analysis tools from a pair of European Union projects--PRUDENCE and STARDEX--in six regional climate models to quantify the changes in exceptionally strong precipitation events over the next 100 years.

Their analysis shows that Alpine regions and northern European locations above 45 degrees latitude (including such major cities as London, Berlin, and Stockholm) are likely to experience increases in the frequency and strength of fall, winter and springtime extreme precipitation events by the year 2100. They report, for example, that in Scandinavia, unusually strong events that are now expected to occur once per century will occur at approximately 20-40 year intervals.

Global circulation and disconnected regional models had previously forecast increases in extreme precipitation, as higher atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations are thought to heighten the frequency of such events worldwide. The combination of regional European models used in the current study adds to the detail available to researchers and provides improved estimates for the pattern, magnitude, and uncertainty of precipitation changes, as compared with larger, more general models.

"There are several implications for climate change research from this study," notes Frei, now at the Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). "First, it confirms the prospects of regional climate models as tools for deriving future scenarios of climate extremes. This has great impact on the design of future ensemble climate modeling projects."

The authors confirmed their results using the extensive rain gauge network already in place in the European Alps. They say that although the Alps cover only a limited part of the model’s domain, and its results cannot be extrapolated to other regions, their model analysis showed exceptional accuracy when compared with observational data at fine spatial scales that are not resolved in current global models.

By combining a number of different models, the researchers were able to use the varying techniques employed in regional climate modeling. They note that their study does not account for all sources of uncertainty, and should be interpreted as a possible scenario of future extreme precipitation events, but one with higher reliability than was previously possible.

The research was sponsored by the European Union, the Swiss Ministry for Education and Science, and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Title: "Future change of precipitation extremes in Europe: An intercomparison of scenarios from regional climate models"

Authors: Christoph Frei, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland; now at Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss), Zurich, Switzerland; Regina Schoell, Sophie Fukutome, Juerg Schmidli, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland; Pier Luigi Vidale, Center for Global Atmospheric Modelling, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom.

Citation: Frei, C., R. Schoell, S. Fukutome, J. Schmidli, and P. L. Vidale (2006), Future change of precipitation extremes in Europe: Intercomparison of scenarios from regional climate models, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D06105, doi:10.1029/2005JD005965.

Contact information for author: Christoph Frei: christoph.frei@meteoswiss.ch or +41 44 256 9755

Harvey Leifert | American Geophysical Union
Further information:
http://www.agu.org

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA sees quick development of Hurricane Dora
27.06.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos
27.06.2017 | CAGE - Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another

27.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Collapse of the European ice sheet caused chaos

27.06.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>