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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 02 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 02 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).

Using a nested single-model large ensemble to assess the internal variability of the North Atlantic Oscillation and its climatic implications for Central Europe

Andrea Böhnisch1, Ralf Ludwig1, and Martin Leduc2,3 Andrea Böhnisch et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
  • 2Ouranos, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • 3Centre ESCER, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Abstract. Central European weather and climate is closely related to atmospheric mass advection triggered by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which is a relevant index for quantifying natural variability on multi-annual time scales. It remains unclear, though, how large-scale circulation variability affects local climate characteristics when downscaled using a regional climate model. In this study, 50 members of a single-model initial-condition large ensemble (LE) ( are analyzed for a climate–NAO relationship, especially its inter-member spread and its transfer from the driving model CanESM2 into the driven model CRCM5. The NAO pressure dipole is quantified in the CanESM2-LE by an extended station-based index; responses of mean surface air temperature and total precipitation to changes in the index value are determined for a Central European domain (CEUR) in both the CanESM2-LE and CRCM5-LE. NAO–response relationships are expressed via Pearson correlation coefficients (strength) and the change per unit index change for historical (1981–2010) and future (2070–2099) winters. Results show that (a) statistically robust NAO patterns are found in the CanESM2-LE under current forcing conditions and (b) impulses from the NAO in the CanESM2-LE produce correct responses in the high-resolution CRCM5-LE. Relationships weaken in the future period, but the amplitude of their inter-member spread shows no significant change. Among others, the results strengthen the validity of the climate module in the ClimEx model chain for further impact modelling and stress the importance of single-model ensembles for evaluating internal variability.

Andrea Böhnisch et al.
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Andrea Böhnisch et al.
Andrea Böhnisch et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
North Atlantic air pressure variations influencing European climate variables are simulated in coarse resolution global climate models (GCM). As single model runs do not sufficiently describe variations of their patterns, several model runs with slightly differing initial conditions are analyzed. The study shows that GCM and regional climate model (RCM) patterns vary in a similar range over the same domain, while RCM add consistent fine-scale information due to their higher spatial resolution.
North Atlantic air pressure variations influencing European climate variables are simulated in...