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Projected Changes in Flood-Generating Precipitation Extremes Over the Czech Republic in High-Resolution Regional Climate Models

DOI: 10.2478/v10098-011-0018-4

Keywords: Precipitation Extremes, Regional Frequency Analysis, Climate Change, Regional Climate Models, the Czech Republic

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Abstract:

Climate change scenarios of high quantiles of 5-day precipitation amounts (proxies for flood-generating events) over the Czech Republic are evaluated in an ensemble of high-resolution Regional Climate Model (RCM) simulations from the ENSEMBLES project. The region-of-influence method of the regional frequency analysis is applied as a pooling scheme. This means that for any single gridbox, a homogeneous region (set of gridboxes) is identified and data from that region are used when fitting the Generalized Extreme Value distribution. The climate change scenarios for the late 21st century (2070-2099) show widespread increases in high quantiles of 5-day precipitation amounts in winter, consistent with projected changes in mean winter precipitation. In summer, increases in precipitation extremes occur despite an overall drying (prevailing declines in mean summer precipitation), which may have important hydrological implications. The results for summer suggest a possible substantial change in characteristics of warm-season precipitation over Central Europe, with more severe dry as well as wet extremes. The spatial pattern of projected changes in summer precipitation extremes, with larger increases in the western part of the area and smaller changes towards east, may also point to a declining role of Mediterranean cyclones in producing precipitation extremes in Central Europe in a future climate. However, uncertainties of the climate change scenarios remain large, which is partly due to biases in reproducing precipitation characteristics in climate models, partly due to large differences among the RCMs, and partly due to factors that are poorly or not at all represented in the examined ensemble. The latter are related also to uncertainties in future emission scenarios and socio-economic development in general.

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