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Rising Mediterranean Sea surface temperatures amplify extreme summer precipitation in Central Europe
Volosciuk, C.; Maraun, D.; Semenov, V.A.; Tilinina, N.; Gulev, S.K.; Latif, M. (2016). Rising Mediterranean Sea surface temperatures amplify extreme summer precipitation in Central Europe. NPG Scientific Reports 6(32450): 7 pp. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep32450
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Volosciuk, C.
  • Maraun, D.
  • Semenov, V.A.
  • Tilinina, N.
  • Gulev, S.K.
  • Latif, M.

Abstract
    The beginning of the 21st century was marked by a number of severe summer floods in Central Europe associated with extreme precipitation (e.g., Elbe 2002, Oder 2010 and Danube 2013). Extratropical storms, known as Vb-cyclones, cause summer extreme precipitation events over Central Europe and can thus lead to such floodings. Vb-cyclones develop over the Mediterranean Sea, which itself strongly warmed during recent decades. Here we investigate the influence of increased Mediterranean Sea surface temperature (SST) on extreme precipitation events in Central Europe. To this end, we carry out atmosphere model simulations forced by average Mediterranean SSTs during 1970-1999 and 2000-2012. Extreme precipitation events occurring on average every 20 summers in the warmer-SST-simulation (2000-2012) amplify along the Vb-cyclone track compared to those in the colder-SSTsimulation (1970-1999), on average by 17% in Central Europe. The largest increase is located southeast of maximum precipitation for both simulated heavy events and historical Vb-events. The responsible physical mechanism is increased evaporation from and enhanced atmospheric moisture content over the Mediterranean Sea. The excess in precipitable water is transported from the Mediterranean Sea to Central Europe causing stronger precipitation extremes over that region. Our findings suggest that Mediterranean Sea surface warming amplifies Central European precipitation extremes.

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