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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 22 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Compound Hot-Dry and Cold-Wet Dynamical Extremes Over the Mediterranean

Paolo De Luca1,2, Gabriele Messori2,3, Davide Faranda4,5, Philip J. Ward1, and Dim Coumou1,6 Paolo De Luca et al.
  • 1Department of Water and Climate Risk, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 3Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 4Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 5London Mathematical Laboratory, London, UK
  • 6Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, the Netherlands

Abstract. The Mediterranean (MED) basin is a climate change hot-spot that has seen drying and a pronounced increase in heatwaves over the last century. At the same time, it is experiencing increasing heavy precipitation during wintertime cold spells. Understanding and quantifying the risks from compound events over the MED is paramount for present and future disaster risk reduction measures. Here, we apply a novel method to study compound events based on dynamical systems theory and analyse compound temperature and precipitation anomalies over the MED from 1979 to 2018. The dynamical systems analysis measures the strength of the coupling between different atmospheric variables over the MED. Further, we consider compound hot-dry days in summer and cold-wet days in winter. Our results show that these hot-dry and cold-wet compound days are associated with maxima in the temperature–precipitation coupling parameter of the dynamical systems analysis. This indicates that there is a strong interaction between temperature and precipitation during compound events. In summer, we find a significant upward trend in the coupling between temperature and precipitation over 1979–2018, which is likely driven by a stronger coupling during hot and dry days. Thermodynamic processes associated with long-term MED warming can best explain the trend. No such trend is found for wintertime cold-wet compound events. Our findings suggest that long-term warming strengthens the coupling of temperature and precipitation which intensifies hot-dry compound events.

Paolo De Luca et al.

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Paolo De Luca et al.

Paolo De Luca et al.


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Latest update: 04 Jun 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this paper we quantify Mediterranean compound temperature and precipitation dynamical extremes over the 1979–2018 period. The strength of the temperature–precipitation coupling during summer increased and is driven by surface warming. We also link the dynamical extremes to compound hot-dry and cold-wet events during summer and winter respectively.
In this paper we quantify Mediterranean compound temperature and precipitation dynamical...