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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
17 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
European climate change at global mean temperature increases of 1.5 and 2 °C above pre-industrial conditions as simulated by the EURO-CORDEX regional climate models
Erik Kjellström1,2, Grigory Nikulin1, Gustav Strandberg1, Ole Bøssing Christensen3, Daniela Jacob4, Klaus Keuler5, Geert Lenderink6, Erik van Meijgaard6, Christoph Schär7, Samuel Somot8, Silje Lund Sørland7, Claas Teichmann4, and Robert Vautard9 1Rossby Centre, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), 601 76 Norrköping, Sweden
2Department of Meteorology (MISU), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
3Danish Danish Climate Centre, Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Copenhagen, Denmark
4Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht
5Environmental Meteorology, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, Germany
6Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands
7Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
8CNRM UMR 3589, Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
9Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, IPSL, CEA/CNRS//UVSQ, Gif sur Yvette, France
Abstract. We investigate European regional climate change for time periods when the global mean temperature has increased by respectively 1.5 °C and 2 °C compared to preindustrial conditions. Results are based on regional downscaling of transient climate change simulations for the 21st century with global climate models (GCMs) from the fifth phase Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). We use an ensemble of EURO-CORDEX high-resolution regional climate model (RCM) simulations undertaken at a computational grid of 12.5 km horizontal resolution covering Europe. The ensemble consists of a range of RCMs that have been used for downscaling different GCMs under different forcing scenarios. The results indicate considerable near-surface warming already at the lower 1.5 °C warming. Regional warming exceeds that of the global mean in most parts of Europe, strongest in northernmost parts of Europe in winter and in southernmost parts of Europe together with parts of Scandinavia in summer. Changes in precipitation, that are less robust than the ones in temperature, include increases in the north and decreases in the south with a borderline that migrates from a northerly position in summer to a southerly one in winter. Some of these changes are seen already at 1.5 °C warming but larger and more robust at 2 °C. Changes in near-surface wind speed are associated with a large spread between individual ensemble members at both warming levels. Relatively large areas over the North Atlantic and some parts of the continent shows decreasing wind speed while some ocean areas in the far north show increasing wind speed. The changes in temperature, precipitation and wind speed are shown to be modified by changes in mean sea level pressure indicating a strong relationship with the large-scale circulation and its internal variability on decade-long timescales. By comparing to a larger ensemble of CMIP5 GCMs we find that the RCMs can alter the results leading either to attenuation of amplification of the climate change signal in the underlying GCMs. We find that the RCMs tend to produce less warming and more precipitation (or less drying) in many areas in both winter and summer.
Citation: Kjellström, E., Nikulin, G., Strandberg, G., Christensen, O. B., Jacob, D., Keuler, K., Lenderink, G., van Meijgaard, E., Schär, C., Somot, S., Lund Sørland, S., Teichmann, C., and Vautard, R.: European climate change at global mean temperature increases of 1.5 and 2 °C above pre-industrial conditions as simulated by the EURO-CORDEX regional climate models, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Erik Kjellström et al.
Erik Kjellström et al.
Erik Kjellström et al.


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