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KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima

Constraining future precipitation changes in Europe and the Arctic from historical observations of the atmospheric energy budget

Alternative title: Constraining future precipitation changes in Europe and the Arctic from historical observations of the atmospheric energy budget

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

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Project Period:

2021 - 2027

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The recently published IPCC report (Sixth assessment report) linked increase in extreme weather to human activity. In some areas and seasons, there is particularly large uncertainty in future precipitation from climate model calculations. This includes future summer rainfall in northern Europe, where some models give a decrease in precipitation and other models an increase. This will also be important for the probability of more drought. Future increases in precipitation in the Arctic will have an impact on extreme precipitation of varying duration. Also in this area, there are large differences in climate model results. BUDGET will increase our understanding of the causes to why climate models have such large differences in future Arctic rainfall and summer precipitation in northern Europe. This will be accomplished using satellite data and climate model calculations over the last 40 years. The analyzes will provide knowledge of whether processes related to transport in the atmosphere, evaporation or absorption of radiation are the reasons for different results from the climate models. By using and developing the climate models with most realistic precipitation changes and large-scale processes in accordance with ground-based observations and satellite measurements, we can improve estimates of precipitation change and related climate extremes.

The hydrological cycle closely links the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and cryosphere on various timescales. Precipitation changes, including extreme precipitation changes, are likely to become one of the most important consequences of our changing climate over the coming decades. Precipitation is strongly linked to the energy budget in the atmosphere since the surface latent heat flux is a direct heat source for the atmosphere when water vapour condenses. BUDGET will apply the constraint of the atmospheric energy budget to improve quantification of future precipitation changes in Northern Europe and the Arctic by using the observed trends. BUDGET utilizes thereby the satellite era advancement and available satellite data to quantify trends in the atmospheric energy budget components. Re-analysis will complement the satellite data. We will apply this new scientific knowledge to weight climate model performance and thus constrain future regional precipitation changes. BUDGET will quantify causes of diversity in model simulated regional precipitation changes. We will quantify whether model discrepancies of historical and future precipitation changes are linked to different climate drivers, such as greenhouse gases and aerosols, or host model differences. BUDGET will investigate whether the constraints on the atmospheric energy budget have implications for changes in extreme precipitation. A main aim in BUDGET is to understand the physical processes causing model diversity using four different climate models allowing for the possibility of future model improvements.

Funding scheme:

KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima