Original paper

Statistical and dynamical downscaling assessments of precipitation extremes in the Mediterranean area

Hertig, Elke; Paxian, Andreas; Vogt, Gernot; Seubert, Stefanie; Paeth, Heiko; Jacobeit, Jucundus

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 21 No. 1 (2012), p. 61 - 77

published: Feb 1, 2012

DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2012/0271

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP025012101007, Price: 29.00 €

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Extreme precipitation events in the Mediterranean area have been defined by different percentile-based indices of extreme precipitation for autumn and winter: the number of events exceeding the 95th percentile of daily precipitation, percentage, total amount, and mean daily intensity of precipitation from these events. Results from statistical downscaling applying canonical correlation analysis as well as from dynamical downscaling using the regional climate model REMO are mapped for the 1961-1990 baseline period as well as for the magnitude of change for the future time slice 2021-2050 in relation to the former period. Direct output of the coupled global circulation model ECHAM5 is used as an additional source of information. A qualitative comparison of the two different downscaling techniques indicates that under the present climate both the dynamical and the statistical techniques have skill to reproduce extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean area. A good representation of the frequency of extreme precipitation events arises from the statistical downscaling approach, whereas the intensity of such events is adequately modelled by the dynamical downscaling. Concerning the change of extreme precipitation in the Mediterranean area until the mid-21st century, it is projected that the frequency of extreme precipitation events will decrease in most parts of the Mediterranean area in autumn and winter. The change of the mean intensity of such events shows a rather heterogeneous pattern with intensity increases in winter most likely at topographical elevations exposed to the West, where the uplift of humid air profits by the increase of atmospheric moisture under climate change conditions. For the precipitation total from events exceeding the 95th percentile of daily precipitation, widespread decreases are indicated in autumn, whereas in winter increases occur over the western part of the Iberian Peninsula and southern France, and reductions over southern Turkey, the eastern Mediterranean area, parts of Italy and some North African regions.