Decadal predictability of regional-scale peak winds over Europe using the Earth System Model of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology
Haas, Rabea; Reyers, Mark; Pinto, Joaquim G.
Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 25 No. 6 (2016), p. 739 - 752
published: Dec 21, 2016
published online: Aug 31, 2015
manuscript accepted: Jun 4, 2015
manuscript revision received: Apr 29, 2015
manuscript revision requested: Feb 3, 2015
manuscript received: Jan 31, 2014
Open Access (paper can be downloaded for free)
The predictability of high impact weather events on multiple time scales is a crucial issue both in scientific and socio-economic terms. In this study, a statistical-dynamical downscaling (SDD) approach is applied to an ensemble of decadal hindcasts obtained with the Max-Planck-Institute Earth System Model (MPI-ESM) to estimate the decadal predictability of peak wind speeds (as a proxy for gusts) over Europe. Yearly initialized decadal ensemble simulations with ten members are investigated for the period 1979–2005. The SDD approach is trained with COSMO-CLM regional climate model simulations and ERA-Interim reanalysis data and applied to the MPI-ESM hindcasts. The simulations for the period 1990–1993, which was characterized by several windstorm clusters, are analyzed in detail. The anomalies of the 95 % peak wind quantile of the MPI-ESM hindcasts are in line with the positive anomalies in reanalysis data for this period. To evaluate both the skill of the decadal predictability system and the added value of the downscaling approach, quantile verification skill scores are calculated for both the MPI-ESM large-scale wind speeds and the SDD simulated regional peak winds. Skill scores are predominantly positive for the decadal predictability system, with the highest values for short lead times and for (peak) wind speeds equal or above the 75 % quantile. This provides evidence that the analyzed hindcasts and the downscaling technique are suitable for estimating wind and peak wind speeds over Central Europe on decadal time scales. The skill scores for SDD simulated peak winds are slightly lower than those for large-scale wind speeds. This behavior can be largely attributed to the fact that peak winds are a proxy for gusts, and thus have a higher variability than wind speeds. The introduced cost-efficient downscaling technique has the advantage of estimating not only wind speeds but also estimates peak winds (a proxy for gusts) and can be easily applied to large ensemble datasets like operational decadal prediction systems.