A Study of Precipitation Climatology and Its Variability over Europe Using an Advanced Regional Model (WRF)

Hari Prasad Dasari, Venkata Srinivas Challa

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In recent years long-term precipitation trends on a regional scale have been given emphasis due to the impacts of global warming on regional hydrology. In this study, regional precipitation trends are simulated over the Europe continent for a 60-year period in 1950-2010 using an advanced regional model, WRF, to study extreme precipitation events over Europe. The model runs continuously for each year during the period at a horizontal resolution of 25 km with initial/ boundary conditions derived from the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) 2.5 degree reanalysis data sets. The E-OBS 0.25 degree rainfall observation analysis is used for model validation. Results indicate that the model could reproduce the spatial annual rainfall pattern over Europe with low amounts (250 - 750 mm) in Iberian Peninsula, moderate to large amounts (750 - 1500 mm) in central, eastern and northeastern parts of Europe and extremely heavy falls (1500 - 2000 mm) in hilly areas of Alps with a slight overestimation in Alps and underestimation in other parts of Europe. The regional model integrations showed increasing errors (mean absolute errors) and decreasing correlations with increasing time scale (daily to seasonal). Rainfall is simulated relatively better in Iberian Peninsula, northwest and central parts of Europe. A large spatial variability with the highest number of wet days over eastern, central Europe and Alps (~200 days/year) and less number of wet days over Iberian Peninsula (≤150 days/year) is also found in agreement with observations. The model could simulate the spatial rainfall climate variability reasonably well with low rainfall days (1 - 10 mm/days) in almost all zones, heavy rainfall events in western, northern, southeastern hilly and coastal zones and extremely heavy rainfall events in northern coastal zones. An increasing trend of heavy rainfall in central, southern and southeastern parts, a decreasing trend in Iberian Peninsula and a steady trend in other zones are found. Overall, the simulated rainfall climatology was reproduced well for the low and heavy rainfall followed by very heavy and extremely heavy rainfall in Europe and the simulation is better in the Iberian west coast, central northern Europe and Alps Mountains.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Journal of Climate Change
Issue number01
StatePublished - Mar 6 2015


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