Weather patterns over Central Europe: Study develops tools to better predict future climate
A new study of young researchers at Météo-France and TU Bergakademie Freiberg (Germany) confirms possible scenarios of Central Europe’s climate future. By looking at data from 1900 to 2100, the team identified 11 large-scale weather patterns over Central Europe that are likely to change in the near future. Combining the data with global climate change models, the team has been able to compute and predict the frequencies of the patterns and draw conclusions on Central Europe’s future climate.
“Given a worst case scenario of global warming, the 11 patterns that we have identified from past data are very likely to change in frequency in about 30 years from now”, explains first author Pedro Lormendez, who has carried out the study as a PhD student within the EU-funded research project CAFE. Pressure systems responsible for Easterly winds that account for hotter summer days over Central Europe could increase in frequency, whereas Westerlies that bring mild temperatures and humidity to the continent could decrease in frequency. “Overall, the changing patterns as computed in the study make up for a scenario in which Central Europe’s future climate would resemble that of the Mediterranean present”, says Prof. Jörg Matschullat of TU Bergakademie Freiberg. The geoecologist supervises Pedro Lormendez’ PhD and adds: “The findings confirm what climate scientists are warning of on a global scale: A hotter future is most probably unavoidable, also in Central Europe. The methodology of identifying the weather patterns that account for hotter and drier summers and milder winters in Central Europe will allow us to improve the forecasting of extreme weather conditions.”
Analysing the past to make assumptions about the future
“My supervisors and I asked ourselves whether a reanalysis of past data concerning large weather patterns over Central Europe can help to better predict a possible future climate. The answer is, yes, it can”, Pedro Lormendez says. To assess the frequency of the 11 weather patterns, the team has been using the latest data set provided by the World Climate Research Programme (CMIP6, https://www.wcrp-climate.org/wgcm-cmip/wgcm-cmip6) from 1900 to 2010. Pedro Lormendez analysed the data based on the Mann-Kendall trend test to identify increasing or decreasing trends. “We then identified trends based on state-of-the-art scientific assumptions of rising temperatures due to climate change”, the young researcher illustrates.
Analysing these trends can help to develop tools for better forecasting Central Europe’s climate future. “Global warming also affects the predictability of events and therefore society’s capacity to plan effective climate adaptation measures”, Prof. Jörg Matschullat explains. Learning more about the patterns that will dominate over longer or shorter than past average periods of times or appear more frequently allows for assumptions on which types of weather and climatic conditions can be expected in the future. “A more frequent and extended persistence of Easterlies during summer, for example, can relate to heatwaves. This is why our next step is to apply the analysis of trends on extreme weather events such as drought or heavy rain over Central Europe”, Pedro Lormendez states in a brief outlook.
Background: The CAFE research project
CAFE, Climate Advanced Forecasting of sub-seasonal Extremes, (http://www.cafes2se-itn.eu/) is an EU-funded project with ten international partners across Europe and Latin America, including Météo-France and TU Bergakademie Freiberg. The project is funded with more than 3 million Euros within the EU research framework programme „Horizon 2020“ and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The ultimate goal of the CAFE project is to improve the sub-seasonal predictability of extreme weather events through the interdisciplinary training of 12 young researchers in aspects such as climate science, complex networks and data analysis.
Contact for scientific information:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Matschullat, Professor of Geochemistry and Geoecology, firstname.lastname@example.org, +49 3731 39-3399
Pedro Herrera‐Lormendez, Nikolaos Mastrantonas, Hervé Douville, Andreas Hoy, Jörg Matschullat: Synoptic circulation changes over Central Europe from 1900 to 2100: Reanalyses and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6, International Journal of Climatology. https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.7481