Evaluation of mechanisms of hot and cold days in climate models over Central Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Changes in intensity, frequency, and location of temperature extreme events are a focus for many studies that often rely on simulations from climate models to assess changes in temperature extremes. Given the use of climate models for attributing such events to human and natural influences and for projecting future changes, an assessment of the capability of climate models to properly simulate the mechanisms associated with temperature extreme events is necessary. In this study, known mechanisms and relevant meteorological variables are explored in a composite analysis to identify and quantify a climatology of synoptic weather patterns related to hot and cold seasonal temperature extreme events over Central Europe. The analysis is based on extremes that recur once or several times per season for better sampling. Weather patterns from a selection of CMIP5 models are compared with patterns derived from the ERA interim reanalysis. The results indicate that climate models simulate mechanisms associated with temperature extreme events reasonably well, in particular circulation-based mechanisms. The amplitude and average length of events is assessed, where in some cases significant deviations from ERA interim are found. In three cases, the models have on average significantly more days per season with extreme events than ERA interim. Quantitative analyses of physical links between extreme temperature and circulation, relative humidity, and radiation reveal that the strength of the link between the temperature and the variables does not vary greatly from model to model and ERA interim.

Original languageEnglish
Article number014002
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • climate models
  • mechanisms
  • pattern analysis
  • temperature extreme events


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