24/02/2015
Credits: CC ralpe @Flickr.com

A new study (among the authors, CMCC researchers E. Scoccimarro, S. Gualdi, A. Bellucci, M. Zampieri, A. Navarra) published on Regional Environmental Change showed a picture of a Euro-Mediterranean region with intensifying heavy precipitation events in a warmer climate over the majority of land, especially during winter, as seems confirmed by CMIP5 model projections for the end of the twenty-first century under a scenario assuming no mitigation efforts. This implies increasing risks of natural and human systems that are sensitive to wet extremes.

The abstract of the paper:
Possible changes in the intensity of heavy precipitation events at the end of the twenty-first century over the Euro-Mediterranean region are investigated, using a subset of numerical climate simulations taking part to the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). As a measure of the intensity associated with heavy precipitation events, we use the difference between the 99th and the 90th percentiles. Despite a slight tendency to underestimate the observed heavy precipitation intensity during summer and to overestimate it during winter, the considered CMIP5 models well represent the observed patterns of the defined 99th–90th percentile metric during both seasons for the 1997–2005 period over the Euro-Mediterranean region. Over the investigated domain, an increase of the width of the right tail of the precipitation distribution is projected in a warmer climate, even over regions where nearly the entire precipitation distribution becomes dryer. This is the case of the European domain within the 45N–55N belt.

Read the full version of the paper:

Scoccimarro E., Gualdi S., Bellucci A., Zampieri M., Navarra
A. 
Heavy precipitation events over the Euro-Mediterranean region in a warmer climate: results from CMIP5 models

2014, Regional Environmental Change, DOI: 10.1007/s10113-014-0712-y