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Crucial role of Black Sea warming in amplifying the 2012 Krymsk precipitation extreme
Meredith, E.P.; Semenov, V.A.; Maraun, D.; Park, W.; Chernokulsky, A.V. (2015). Crucial role of Black Sea warming in amplifying the 2012 Krymsk precipitation extreme. Nature Geoscience 8(8): 615-619.
In: Nature Geoscience. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1752-0894, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Meredith, E.P.
  • Semenov, V.A.
  • Maraun, D.
  • Park, W.
  • Chernokulsky, A.V.

    Over the past 60 years, both average daily precipitation intensity and extreme precipitation have increased in many regions. Part of these changes, or even individual events, have been attributed to anthropogenic warming. Over the Black Sea and Mediterranean region, the potential for extreme summertime convective precipitation has grown8 alongside substantial sea surface temperature increase. A particularly devastating convective event experienced in that region was the July 2012 precipitation extreme near the Black Sea town of Krymsk. Here we study the effect of sea surface temperature (SST) increase on convective extremes within the region, taking the Krymsk event as a showcase example. We carry out ensemble sensitivity simulations with a convection-permitting atmospheric model and show the crucial role of SST increase in the extremeness of the event. The enhancement of lower tropospheric instability due to the current warmer Black Sea allows deep convection to be triggered, increasing simulated precipitation by more than 300% relative to simulations with SSTs characteristic of the early 1980s. A highly nonlinear precipitation response to incremental SST increase suggests that the Black Sea has exceeded a regional threshold for the intensification of convective extremes. The physical mechanism we identify indicates that Black Sea and Mediterranean coastal regions may face abrupt amplifications of convective precipitation under continued SST increase, and illustrates the limitations of thermodynamical bounds for estimating the temperature scaling of convective extremes.

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