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Europe-wide precipitation projections at convection permitting scale with the Unified Model

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Steven ChanORCiD, Dr Elizabeth Lewis, Professor Hayley Fowler



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


For the first time, we analyze 2.2 km UK Met Office Unified Model convection-permitting model (CPM) projections for a pan-European domain. These new simulations represent a major increase in domain size, allowing us to examine the benefits of CPMs across a range of European climates. We find a change to the seasonality of extreme precipitation with warming. In particular, there is a relatively muted response for summer, which contrasts with much larger increases in autumn and winter. This flattens the hourly extreme precipitation seasonal cycle across Northern Europe which has a summer peak in the present climate. Over the Western Mediterranean, where autumn is the main extreme precipitation season, there is a regional increase in hourly extreme precipitation frequency, but local changes for lower precipitation thresholds are often insignificant. For mean precipitation, decreases are projected across Europe in summer, smaller decreases in autumn, and increases in winter; comparable changes are seen in the driving general circulation model (GCM) simulations. The winter mean increase is accompanied by a large decrease of winter mean snowfall. Comparing the driving GCM projections with the CPM ones, the CPMs show a robust enhanced intensification of precipitation extremes at the convection-permitting scale compared to coarser resolution climate model projections across various European regions for summer and autumn.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chan SC, Kendon EJ, Berthou S, Fosser G, Lewis E, Fowler HJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Climate Dynamics

Year: 2020

Volume: 55

Pages: 409-428

Online publication date: 25/06/2020

Acceptance date: 24/02/2020

Date deposited: 17/07/2020

ISSN (print): 0930-7575

ISSN (electronic): 1432-0894

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05192-8


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/R01079X/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
WM140025Royal Society