skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Euro-Atlantic winter storminess and precipitation extremes under 1.5 °C vs. 2 °C warming scenarios

Abstract

Severe winter storms in combination with precipitation extremes pose a serious threat to Europe. Located at the southeastern exit of the North Atlantic's storm track, European coastlines are directly exposed to impacts by high wind speeds, storm floods and coastal erosion. In this study we analyze potential changes in simulated winter storminess and extreme precipitation, which may occur under 1.5 or 2°C warming scenarios. Here we focus on a first simulation suite of the atmospheric model CAM5 performed within the HAPPI project and evaluate how changes of the horizontal model resolution impact the results regarding atmospheric pressure, storm tracks, wind speed and precipitation extremes. The comparison of CAM5 simulations with different resolutions indicates that an increased horizontal resolution to 0.25° not only refines regional-scale information but also improves large-scale atmospheric circulation features over the Euro-Atlantic region. The zonal bias in monthly pressure at mean sea level and wind fields, which is typically found in low-resolution models, is considerably reduced. This allows us to analyze potential changes in regional- to local-scale extreme wind speeds and precipitation in a more realistic way. Our analysis of the future response for the 2°C warming scenario generally confirms previous model simulations suggesting a poleward shift and intensificationmore » of the meridional circulation in the Euro-Atlantic region. Additional analysis suggests that this shift occurs mainly after exceeding the 1.5°C global warming level, when the midlatitude jet stream manifests a strengthening northeastward. At the same time, this northeastern shift of the storm tracks allows an intensification and northeastern expansion of the Azores high, leading to a tendency of less precipitation across the Bay of Biscay and North Sea. Here, regions impacted by the strengthening of the midlatitude jet, such as the northwestern coasts of the British Isles, Scandinavia and the Norwegian Sea, and over the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, experience an increase in the mean as well as daily and sub-daily precipitation, wind extremes and storminess, suggesting an important influence of increasing storm activity in these regions in response to global warming.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5];  [6]; ORCiD logo [7];  [3]
  1. Environmental Defense Fund, New York City, NY (United States)
  2. Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, D.C. (United States)
  3. Helmholtz Centre Geesthacht, Geesthacht (Germany)
  4. European Commission, Ispra (Italy)
  5. Stockholm Univ., Stockholm (Sweden)
  6. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Global Climate Adaptation Partnership, Oxford (United Kingdom)
  7. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1462981
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Earth System Dynamics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Earth System Dynamics (Online); Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 2; Related Information: © 2018 Author(s).; Journal ID: ISSN 2190-4987
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Barcikowska, Monika J., Weaver, Scott J., Feser, Frauke, Russo, Simone, Schenk, Frederik, Stone, Daithi A., Wehner, Michael F., and Zahn, Matthias. Euro-Atlantic winter storminess and precipitation extremes under 1.5 °C vs. 2 °C warming scenarios. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.5194/esd-9-679-2018.
Barcikowska, Monika J., Weaver, Scott J., Feser, Frauke, Russo, Simone, Schenk, Frederik, Stone, Daithi A., Wehner, Michael F., & Zahn, Matthias. Euro-Atlantic winter storminess and precipitation extremes under 1.5 °C vs. 2 °C warming scenarios. United States. doi:10.5194/esd-9-679-2018.
Barcikowska, Monika J., Weaver, Scott J., Feser, Frauke, Russo, Simone, Schenk, Frederik, Stone, Daithi A., Wehner, Michael F., and Zahn, Matthias. Tue . "Euro-Atlantic winter storminess and precipitation extremes under 1.5 °C vs. 2 °C warming scenarios". United States. doi:10.5194/esd-9-679-2018. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1462981.
@article{osti_1462981,
title = {Euro-Atlantic winter storminess and precipitation extremes under 1.5 °C vs. 2 °C warming scenarios},
author = {Barcikowska, Monika J. and Weaver, Scott J. and Feser, Frauke and Russo, Simone and Schenk, Frederik and Stone, Daithi A. and Wehner, Michael F. and Zahn, Matthias},
abstractNote = {Severe winter storms in combination with precipitation extremes pose a serious threat to Europe. Located at the southeastern exit of the North Atlantic's storm track, European coastlines are directly exposed to impacts by high wind speeds, storm floods and coastal erosion. In this study we analyze potential changes in simulated winter storminess and extreme precipitation, which may occur under 1.5 or 2°C warming scenarios. Here we focus on a first simulation suite of the atmospheric model CAM5 performed within the HAPPI project and evaluate how changes of the horizontal model resolution impact the results regarding atmospheric pressure, storm tracks, wind speed and precipitation extremes. The comparison of CAM5 simulations with different resolutions indicates that an increased horizontal resolution to 0.25° not only refines regional-scale information but also improves large-scale atmospheric circulation features over the Euro-Atlantic region. The zonal bias in monthly pressure at mean sea level and wind fields, which is typically found in low-resolution models, is considerably reduced. This allows us to analyze potential changes in regional- to local-scale extreme wind speeds and precipitation in a more realistic way. Our analysis of the future response for the 2°C warming scenario generally confirms previous model simulations suggesting a poleward shift and intensification of the meridional circulation in the Euro-Atlantic region. Additional analysis suggests that this shift occurs mainly after exceeding the 1.5°C global warming level, when the midlatitude jet stream manifests a strengthening northeastward. At the same time, this northeastern shift of the storm tracks allows an intensification and northeastern expansion of the Azores high, leading to a tendency of less precipitation across the Bay of Biscay and North Sea. Here, regions impacted by the strengthening of the midlatitude jet, such as the northwestern coasts of the British Isles, Scandinavia and the Norwegian Sea, and over the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, experience an increase in the mean as well as daily and sub-daily precipitation, wind extremes and storminess, suggesting an important influence of increasing storm activity in these regions in response to global warming.},
doi = {10.5194/esd-9-679-2018},
journal = {Earth System Dynamics (Online)},
number = 2,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 6 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Changes in storm tracks and energy transports in a warmer climate simulated by the GFDL CM2.1 model
journal, March 2010


Climate change projections for the Mediterranean region
journal, September 2008


Increased record-breaking precipitation events under global warming
journal, July 2015


Filling the white space on maps of European runoff trends: estimates from a multi-model ensemble
journal, January 2012

  • Stahl, K.; Tallaksen, L. M.; Hannaford, J.
  • Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 16, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.5194/hess-16-2035-2012

Statistical uncertainty of changes in winter storms over the North Atlantic and Europe in an ensemble of transient climate simulations
journal, January 2009

  • Della-Marta, Paul M.; Pinto, Joaquim G.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, Issue 14
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009GL038557

Assessment of three wind reanalyses in the North Atlantic Ocean
journal, November 2016


Impact of large-scale circulation changes in the North Atlantic sector on the current and future Mediterranean winter hydroclimate
journal, June 2017

  • Barcikowska, Monika J.; Kapnick, Sarah B.; Feser, Frauke
  • Climate Dynamics, Vol. 50, Issue 5-6
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00382-017-3735-5

Detailed assessment of climate variability in the Baltic Sea area for the period 1958 to 2009
journal, March 2011

  • Lehmann, A.; Getzlaff, K.; Harlaß, J.
  • Climate Research, Vol. 46, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3354/cr00876

Models agree on forced response pattern of precipitation and temperature extremes
journal, December 2014

  • Fischer, E. M.; Sedláček, J.; Hawkins, E.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 41, Issue 23
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062018

An Overview of CMIP5 and the Experiment Design
journal, April 2012

  • Taylor, Karl E.; Stouffer, Ronald J.; Meehl, Gerald A.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 93, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00094.1

Storm track processes and the opposing influences of climate change
journal, August 2016

  • Shaw, T. A.; Baldwin, M.; Barnes, E. A.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 9, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2783

A consistent picture of the hydroclimatic response to global warming from multiple indices: Models and observations: hydroclimatic response to global warming
journal, October 2014

  • Giorgi, F.; Coppola, E.; Raffaele, F.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 119, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014JD022238

Projections of extreme precipitation events in regional climate simulations for Europe and the Alpine Region: PROJECTIONS OF EXTREME PRECIPITATION
journal, May 2013

  • Rajczak, J.; Pall, P.; Schär, C.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50297

A Spatial Two-Dimensional Discrete Filter for Limited-Area-Model Evaluation Purposes
journal, June 2005

  • Feser, Frauke; von Storch, Hans
  • Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 133, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1175/MWR2939.1

When will trends in European mean and heavy daily precipitation emerge?
journal, January 2013


extRemes 2.0: An Extreme Value Analysis Package in R
journal, January 2016

  • Gilleland, Eric; Katz, Richard W.
  • Journal of Statistical Software, Vol. 72, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.18637/jss.v072.i08

Extra-tropical cyclones in the present and future climate: a review
journal, January 2009

  • Ulbrich, U.; Leckebusch, G. C.; Pinto, J. G.
  • Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Vol. 96, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00704-008-0083-8

Tropical and Extratropical Responses of the North Atlantic Atmospheric Circulation to a Sustained Weakening of the MOC
journal, June 2009

  • Brayshaw, David J.; Woollings, Tim; Vellinga, Michael
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 22, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1175/2008JCLI2594.1

Attribution of European precipitation and temperature trends to changes in synoptic circulation
journal, January 2015

  • Fleig, A. K.; Tallaksen, L. M.; James, P.
  • Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 19, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.5194/hess-19-3093-2015

Heavier summer downpours with climate change revealed by weather forecast resolution model
journal, June 2014

  • Kendon, Elizabeth J.; Roberts, Nigel M.; Fowler, Hayley J.
  • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 4, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2258

Future changes in European winter storm losses and extreme wind speeds inferred from GCM and RCM multi-model simulations
journal, January 2011

  • Donat, M. G.; Leckebusch, G. C.; Wild, S.
  • Natural Hazards and Earth System Science, Vol. 11, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.5194/nhess-11-1351-2011

Half a degree additional warming, prognosis and projected impacts (HAPPI): background and experimental design
journal, January 2017

  • Mitchell, Daniel; AchutaRao, Krishna; Allen, Myles
  • Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 10, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.5194/gmd-10-571-2017

Streamflow trends in Europe: evidence from a dataset of near-natural catchments
journal, January 2010


Factors contributing to the development of extreme North Atlantic cyclones and their relationship with the NAO
journal, April 2008


A consistent poleward shift of the storm tracks in simulations of 21st century climate: POLEWARD SHIFT OF THE STORM TRACKS
journal, September 2005


The Resolution Sensitivity of Northern Hemisphere Blocking in Four 25-km Atmospheric Global Circulation Models
journal, January 2017

  • Schiemann, Reinhard; Demory, Marie-Estelle; Shaffrey, Len C.
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 30, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0100.1

Validation of a thirty year wave hindcast using the Climate Forecast System Reanalysis winds
journal, October 2013


A scientific critique of the two-degree climate change target
journal, December 2015

  • Knutti, Reto; Rogelj, Joeri; Sedláček, Jan
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 9, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2595

NCEP–DOE AMIP-II Reanalysis (R-2)
journal, November 2002

  • Kanamitsu, Masao; Ebisuzaki, Wesley; Woollen, Jack
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 83, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-83-11-1631

Detection of external influence on trends of atmospheric storminess and northern oceans wave heights
journal, July 2008


A Multimodel Assessment of Future Projections of North Atlantic and European Extratropical Cyclones in the CMIP5 Climate Models
journal, August 2013


European climate-change oscillation (ECO)
journal, January 2007

  • Giorgi, Filippo; Coppola, Erika
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007GL031223

Variability of extreme precipitation over Europe and its relationships with teleconnection patterns
journal, January 2014

  • Casanueva, A.; Rodríguez-Puebla, C.; Frías, M. D.
  • Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 18, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.5194/hess-18-709-2014

Explaining Extreme Events of 2013 from a Climate Perspective
journal, September 2014

  • Herring, Stephanie C.; Hoerling, Martin P.; Peterson, Thomas C.
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 95, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1175/1520-0477-95.9.S1.1

Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: The HadEX2 dataset: HADEX2-GLOBAL GRIDDED CLIMATE EXTREMES
journal, March 2013

  • Donat, M. G.; Alexander, L. V.; Yang, H.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 118, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1002/jgrd.50150

The role of cyclone clustering during the stormy winter of 2013/2014
journal, July 2017

  • Priestley, Matthew D. K.; Pinto, Joaquim G.; Dacre, Helen F.
  • Weather, Vol. 72, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1002/wea.3025

Response of the North Atlantic storm track to climate change shaped by ocean–atmosphere coupling
journal, April 2012

  • Woollings, T.; Gregory, J. M.; Pinto, J. G.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 5, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1438

The relative contributions of radiative forcing and internal climate variability to the late 20th Century winter drying of the Mediterranean region
journal, October 2011


Hurricane Gonzalo and its Extratropical Transition to a Strong European Storm
journal, December 2015

  • Feser, Frauke; Schubert-Frisius, Martina; von Storch, Hans
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 96, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00122.1

Human influence on climate in the 2014 southern England winter floods and their impacts
journal, February 2016

  • Schaller, Nathalie; Kay, Alison L.; Lamb, Rob
  • Nature Climate Change, Vol. 6, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2927

A Comparison of Extratropical Cyclones in Recent Reanalyses ERA-Interim, NASA MERRA, NCEP CFSR, and JRA-25
journal, September 2011


Early 21st century anthropogenic changes in extremely hot days as simulated by the C20C+ detection and attribution multi-model ensemble
journal, June 2018


EURO-CORDEX: new high-resolution climate change projections for European impact research
journal, July 2013

  • Jacob, Daniela; Petersen, Juliane; Eggert, Bastian
  • Regional Environmental Change, Vol. 14, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10113-013-0499-2

Regional modelling of the western Pacific typhoon season 2004 [Regional modelling of the western Pacific typhoon season 2004]
journal, August 2008


A basis set for exploration of sensitivity to prescribed ocean conditions for estimating human contributions to extreme weather in CAM5.1-1degree
journal, March 2018


IMILAST: A Community Effort to Intercompare Extratropical Cyclone Detection and Tracking Algorithms
journal, April 2013

  • Neu, Urs; Akperov, Mirseid G.; Bellenbaum, Nina
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 94, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00154.1

Changes in precipitation extremes projected by a 20-km mesh global atmospheric model
journal, March 2016


Heavy precipitation in a changing climate: Does short-term summer precipitation increase faster?
journal, February 2015

  • Ban, Nikolina; Schmidli, Juerg; Schär, Christoph
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 42, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GL062588

The Ability of CMIP5 Models to Simulate North Atlantic Extratropical Cyclones
journal, August 2013


Expansion of the Hadley cell under global warming
journal, January 2007

  • Lu, Jian; Vecchi, Gabriel A.; Reichler, Thomas
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1029/2006GL028443

Attribution of floods in the Okavango basin, Southern Africa
journal, April 2014


Storminess over the North Atlantic and northwestern Europe-A review
journal, May 2014

  • Feser, F.; Barcikowska, M.; Krueger, O.
  • Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 141, Issue 687
  • DOI: 10.1002/qj.2364

Climatology, variability and extrema of ocean waves: the Web-based KNMI/ERA-40 wave atlas
journal, January 2005

  • Sterl, Andreas; Caires, Sofia
  • International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 25, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1002/joc.1175

Inconsistencies between Long-Term Trends in Storminess Derived from the 20CR Reanalysis and Observations
journal, February 2013


Storm Tracks and Climate Change
journal, August 2006

  • Bengtsson, Lennart; Hodges, Kevin I.; Roeckner, Erich
  • Journal of Climate, Vol. 19, Issue 15
  • DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3815.1

What is the role of the observational dataset in the evaluation and scoring of climate models?
journal, December 2012

  • Gómez‐Navarro, J. J.; Montávez, J. P.; Jerez, S.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 39, Issue 24
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012GL054206

A European daily high-resolution gridded data set of surface temperature and precipitation for 1950–2006
journal, January 2008

  • Haylock, M. R.; Hofstra, N.; Klein Tank, A. M. G.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 113, Issue D20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2008JD010201

Seasonal Predictability of Extratropical Storm Tracks in GFDL’s High-Resolution Climate Prediction Model
journal, May 2015


    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Half a degree and rapid socioeconomic development matter for heatwave risk
    journal, January 2019


    Half a degree and rapid socioeconomic development matter for heatwave risk
    journal, January 2019


    Predicted Chance That Global Warming Will Temporarily Exceed 1.5 °C
    journal, November 2018

    • Smith, D. M.; Scaife, A. A.; Hawkins, E.
    • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 45, Issue 21
    • DOI: 10.1029/2018gl079362

    On the potential impact of a half-degree warming on cold and warm temperature extremes in mid-latitude North America
    journal, December 2019

    • Barcikowska, Monika J.; Muñoz, Ángel G.; Weaver, Scott J.
    • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 14, Issue 12
    • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab4dea

    It's in your glass: a history of sea level and storminess from the Laphroaig bog, Islay (southwestern Scotland)
    journal, July 2019

    • Kylander, Malin E.; Söderlindh, Jenny; Schenk, Frederik
    • Boreas, Vol. 49, Issue 1
    • DOI: 10.1111/bor.12409

    Does Increasing Natural Gas Demand in the Power Sector Pose a Threat of Congestion to the German Gas Grid? A Model-Coupling Approach
    journal, June 2019

    • Hauser, Philipp; Heidari, Sina; Weber, Christoph
    • Energies, Vol. 12, Issue 11
    • DOI: 10.3390/en12112159

    Combining Numerical Simulations and Normalized Scalar Product Strategy: A New Tool for Predicting Beach Inundation
    journal, September 2019

    • Postacchini, Matteo; Ludeno, Giovanni
    • Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Vol. 7, Issue 9
    • DOI: 10.3390/jmse7090325

    Arctic amplification under global warming of 1.5 and 2 °C in NorESM1-Happi
    journal, January 2019

    • Graff, Lise S.; Iversen, Trond; Bethke, Ingo
    • Earth System Dynamics, Vol. 10, Issue 3
    • DOI: 10.5194/esd-10-569-2019