KLIWEX-MED: Climate change and extremes in the mediterranean region

KLIWEX-MED (climate change and extreme events in the Mediterranean area)- a joint research project of the Universities of Augsburg and Wuerzburg, funded by the German Research Foundation DFG.

Extreme events like heavy rainfall, drought periods, and heat waves play a major role in the discussion of climate change. Modifications in the frequency and intensity of meteorological extreme events can have a dramatic social, economic, and ecological impact. The Mediterranean area is regarded as a “climate change hot-spot” (Giorgi 2006) being highly affected by future climate change compared to other regions of the world. This is mostly due to the assessed decrease of precipitation as well as to an increase of the inter-annual precipitation variability, but changes in temperature, especially in its extreme tails, have also to be taken into account.

In the context of the dynamical downscaling approach, simulations with the high-resolution (0.5°) regional climate model REMO nested in the global circulation model ECHAM5/MPI-OM are available for the time period 1960-2050. For 1960-2000 we consider observed GHG emissions and during 2001-2050 A1b and B1 emission scenarios as well as FAO scenarios for anthropogenic land use change.

Statistical downscaling is established by relating the Mediterranean extreme events to the large-scale atmospheric circulation. This is done through the application of transfer functions (multiple regression analysis, canonical correlation analysis, generalized linear models). To test the stability of the models the analyses are realised for different calibration periods and corresponding verification periods. Output of different coupled global circulation models (ECHAM5/MPI-OM, including some ensemble members, UKMO- HadCM3) under A1B- and B1- scenario assumptions is used to assess changes of extreme events under enhanced greenhouse warming conditions.