Original paper

Future weather types and their influence on mean and extreme climate indices for precipitation and temperature in Central Europe

Riediger, Ulf; Gratzki, Annegret

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 23 No. 3 (2014), p. 231 - 252

79 references

published: Sep 25, 2014
published online: Apr 4, 2014
manuscript accepted: Nov 13, 2013
manuscript revision received: Nov 8, 2013
manuscript received: Jul 3, 2013

DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2014/0519

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In Central Europe, the spatial and temporal distributions of precipitation and temperature are determined by the occurrence of major weather types. In this paper, we examine climate indices (i.e. mean values or hot, cold, wet and dry days) for different weather types in a recent (1971–2000) and future climate (2070–2099). The weather types are classified objectively for the control run and for the A1B scenario with an ensemble of eight global climate simulations (GCM) to be compared with different reanalyses. To derive climate indices, the high-resolution, regionalized reference dataset HYRAS and an ensemble of nine regional climate simulations (RCM) are used. Firstly, the reliability of simulated weather patterns and their climate indices are tested in the control period. The reanalyses circulation climatology can be reproduced well by the GCM ensemble mean. For temperature and precipitation, each climate index is characterized and evaluated in terms of defined weather patterns. The comparison of HYRAS and RCM data show reliable mean temperature values with differences between weather classes by + 2$+2$ to - 6$-6$ °C during winter (13 to 19 °C in summer). The analysis of observed and simulated precipitation reveal that mean winter precipitation is significantly influenced by the direction of air flow, while in summer, mesoscale atmospheric patterns of cyclonic rotation play a larger role. Secondly, the analysis of potential future changes simulated by the RCM ensemble were able to demonstrate that weather type changes, superior climate trends (such as mean warming) and their interaction lead to major changes for precipitation and temperature in Central Europe. While temperature differences between cold and warm weather types are nearly stable over time, the ensemble temperature changes (with a range of + 2$+2$ to + 4$+4$ °C) reinforce warm/hot conditions in the future winter and summer. Milder, wetter winters can be explained by an increased occurrence of warm south-westerlies and a decrease in cold easterlies. Thereby, an increase of extensive areal rainfall events is simulated for specific weather types. Otherwise, warmer and drier summers are projected by the RCM ensemble. Here, a few weather patterns are relevant for very hot conditions with the total number of very hot days where the mean daily temperature greater than 25 °C increases. Thereby, anticyclonic weather patterns are most relevant for non precipitation events and particulary, the number of days with anticyclonic westerlies is expected to double in the future.


Regional Climate ModelGlobal Climate ModelWeather Types