Regional projections of temperature and precipitation changes: Robustness and uncertainty aspects.
Piniewski, Mikołaj; Mezghani, Abdelkader; Szcześniak, Mateusz; Kundzewicz, Zbigniew W.
Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 26 No. 2 (2017), p. 223 - 234
published: Apr 25, 2017
published online: Mar 7, 2017
manuscript accepted: Dec 12, 2016
manuscript revision received: Dec 11, 2016
manuscript revision requested: Nov 28, 2016
manuscript received: Oct 17, 2016
Open Access (paper can be downloaded for free)
This study presents the analysis of bias-corrected projections of changes in temperature and precipitation in the Vistula and Odra basins, covering approximately 90 % of the Polish territory and small parts of neighbouring countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The ensemble of climate projections consists of nine regional climate model simulations from the EURO-CORDEX ensemble for two future periods 2021–2050 and 2071–2100, assuming two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. The robustness is measured by the ensemble models' agreement on significant changes. We found a robust increase in the annual mean of daily minimum and maximum temperature, by 1–1.4 °C in the near future and by 1.9–3.8 °C in the far future (areal-means of the ensemble mean values). Higher increases are consistently associated with minimum temperature and the gradient of change goes from SW to NE regions. Seasonal projections of both temperature variables reflect lower robustness and suggest a higher future increase in winter temperatures than in other seasons, notably in the far future under RCP 8.5 (by more than 1 °C). However, changes in annual means of precipitation are uncertain and not robust in any of the analysed cases, even though the climate models agree well on the increase. This increase is intensified with rising global temperatures and varies from 5.5 % in the near future under RCP 4.5 to 15.2 % in the far future under RCP 8.5. Spatial variability is substantial, although quite variable between individual climate model simulations. Although seasonal means of precipitation are projected to considerably increase in all four combinations of RCPs and projection horizons for winter and spring, the high model spread reduces considerably the robustness, especially for the far future. In contrast, the ensemble members agree well that overall, the summer and autumn (with exception of the far future under RCP 8.5) precipitation will not undergo statistically significant changes.