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INTENSE Report Summary

Project ID: 617329
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Mid-Term Report Summary - INTENSE (INTENSE: INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to non-Stationary climate Extremes)

INTENSE is a large funded European Research Council project “INTElligent use of climate models for adaptatioN to non-Stationary hydrological Extremes” led by Prof Hayley Fowler at Newcastle University, UK, with a number of international project partners. This provides the funded core of a community effort into the collection and analysis of sub-daily precipitation data and model outputs through the Global Energy and Water EXchanges (GEWEX) Hydroclimatology Panel cross-cut on sub-daily precipitation which Prof. Fowler leads.
The project aims to collect a global database of sub-daily precipitation data and data has now been provided for many countries: USA, Australia, Austria, Canada, Catalonia, Costa Rica, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Portugal, UK, Netherlands, Panama, Singapore, Sweden, and HadISD (UK Met Office sub-daily dataset comprising precipitation and other variables). We are in the process of receiving data from Norway, The Philippines and New Zealand, Slovenia, France, Argentina, Brazil. We have developed methods by which to quality control the data using UK and US datasets. We have examined trends in hourly and daily precipitation extremes using a network of quality controlled stations across the United-States from 1950-2011. We found that trends in winter extremes emerge first in hourly precipitation for both magnitude and frequency statistics and that these can be in part linked to rising temperatures. This is backed-up by evidence from a high-resolution modelling study over the UK. Similar work over the Netherlands has shown that most hourly precipitation extremes are part of large-scale circulation systems, with considerable forcing from the larger scales. We intend to explore these large-scale drivers of precipitation further, initially by linking these to weather patterns over Europe and the US. We have explored these relationships in high-resolution climate models over the UK with an analysis of large-scale precursors of small-scale storms. Results suggest large-scale stability is skilful in predicting the occurrence of extremes in the 1.5km convection-permitting model. Missed events show some common features - they tend to have lower convective fraction, and may be related to orography or coastal convergence.

In September 2016, INTENSE held a workshop for international experts in Newcastle, UK which agreed on an initial set of sub-daily precipitation indices to develop from the climate data. These will be calculated and will become freely available to the public on a dedicated web-site. Investigation is also being made of how these can be used (perhaps with additional metrics) to evaluate new high-resolution climate models simulations that are being run by different international modelling groups to explore changes in sub-daily precipitation under global warming.

The INTENSE team has also examined new high-resolution climate model simulations for the UK. A paper published in Nature Geoscience (Chan et al. 2016) showed that high-resolution climate models show the same downturn in hourly rainfall scaling with high temperatures as seen in observations. We have also published a paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (Kendon et al. 2016) that examines existing climate model projections made with convection-permitting runs for different regions and from different modelling groups and determines where their projections are different from coarse-resolution climate models, or where projections from coarse resolution models are robust. This allows us to say whether current regional climate. A paper in Environmental Research Letters (Chan et al. 2016) examined sub-hourly precipitation extremes from convection-permitting models, exploring whether storm profile changes in future climate. The simulations do not find the precipitation profile changes of storm events that have been identified in observations in Japan and Australia. The scaling relationships between temperature and precipitation for sub-hourly precipitation are found to be similar to hourly precipitation.

Finally, we have collaborated with the climate modelling team at ETH Zurich and UK Met Office to set up the first convection-permitting resolution model comparison study for the European domain at 2.2km. Both model runs are underway with results expected in about a year. The UK Met Office experiments have completed 3+ years (ERA-interim driven experiment, control experiment, future experiment). This will allow us to explore climate projections and processes in many different climate regimes.


Deborah Grieves, (Assistant Grants and Contracts Manager)
Tel.: +44 191 222 6131
Fax: +44191 222 5770
Record Number: 193218 / Last updated on: 2017-01-16
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