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Past and projected weather pattern persistence with associated multi-hazards in the British Isles

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2019 by Paolo De-Luca, Colin Harpham, Robert Wilby, John Hillier, Christian Franzke, Gregor Leckebusch

Hazards such as heatwaves and floods are often linked to persistent weather patterns. Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) are important tools for evaluating projected changes in extreme weather. Here, we demonstrate that 2-day weather pattern persistence is a useful concept for both investigating climate risks from multi-hazard events as well as for assessing AOGCM realism. This study evaluates the ability of a Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) multi-model sub-ensemble of 10 AOGCMs at reproducing seasonal weather pattern persistence and frequencies over the British Isles. Changes in persistence are investigated under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP8.5 and RCP4.5) up to 2100. Broadly, the ensemble replicates historical weather type persistence observed in reanalyses (1971-2000). Future persistence and frequency of summer anticyclonic patterns are found to increase, implying heightened risk of drought and heatwaves. On the other hand, the cyclonic weather type decreases in autumn suggesting reduced likelihood of flooding and severe gales. During winter, AOGCMs suggest increased risk of concurrent flood-wind hazards by 2100, however, they also tend to over-estimate such risks when compared to reanalyses. In summer, the strength of the nocturnal Urban Heat Island (UHI) of London could intensify, enhancing the likelihood of combined heatwave-poor air quality events. Further research is needed to explore other multi-hazards in relation to changing weather pattern persistence and how best to communicate such threats to vulnerable communities.

Funding

Natural Environment Research Council studentship awarded through the Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA http://www.centa.org.uk/; Grant No. NE/L002493/1)

Loughborough University

Collaborative Research Centre TRR 181 “Energy Transfer in Atmosphere and Ocean”, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation https://www.dfg.de/en/)—Projektnummer 274762653

CENTA NERC

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

Atmosphere

Volume

10

Publisher

MDPI

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Acceptance date

23/09/2019

Publication date

2019-09-25

Copyright date

2019

eISSN

2073-4433

Language

en

Depositor

Dr John Hillier

Article number

577

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