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    Future Changes in European Severe Convection Environments in a Regional Climate Model Ensemble

    Púčik, Tomáš and Groenemeijer, Pieter and Rädler, Anja T. and Tijssen, Lars and Nikulin, Grigory and Prein, Andreas E. and van Meingaard, Erik and Fealy, Rowan and Jacob, Daniela and Teichmann, Claas (2017) Future Changes in European Severe Convection Environments in a Regional Climate Model Ensemble. Journal of Climate, 30. pp. 6771-6794. ISSN 0894-8755

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    The occurrence of environmental conditions favorable for severe convective storms was assessed in an ensemble of 14 regional climate models covering Europe and the Mediterranean with a horizontal grid spacing of 0.44°. These conditions included the collocated presence of latent instability and strong deep-layer (surface to 500 hPa) wind shear, which is conducive to the severe and well-organized convective storms. The occurrence of precipitation in the models was used as a proxy for convective initiation. Two climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) were investigated by comparing two future periods (2021–50 and 2071–2100) to a historical period (1971–2000) for each of these scenarios. The ensemble simulates a robust increase (change larger than twice the ensemble sample standard deviation) in the frequency of occurrence of unstable environments (lifted index ≤ −2) across central and south-central Europe in the RCP8.5 scenario in the late twenty-first century. This increase coincides with the increase in lower-tropospheric moisture. Smaller, less robust changes were found until midcentury in the RCP8.5 scenario and in the RCP4.5 scenario. Changes in the frequency of situations with strong (≥15 m s−1) deep-layer shear were found to be small and not robust, except across far northern Europe, where a decrease in shear is projected. By the end of the century, the simultaneous occurrence of latent instability, strong deep-layer shear, and model precipitation is simulated to increase by up to 100% across central and eastern Europe in the RCP8.5 and by 30%–50% in the RCP4.5 scenario. Until midcentury, increases in the 10%–25% range are forecast for most regions. A large intermodel variability is present in the ensemble and is primarily due to the uncertainties in the frequency of the occurrence of unstable environments.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Buoyancy; Climate change; Convective storms; Storm environments; Climate models; Ensembles;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 11529
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Rowan Fealy
    Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 15:14
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Climate
    Publisher: American Meteorological Society
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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