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Regional climate impacts of future changes in the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation: a storylines view

Zappa, G. (2019) Regional climate impacts of future changes in the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation: a storylines view. Current Climate Change Reports, 5 (4). pp. 358-371. ISSN 2198-6061

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s40641-019-00146-7


Purpose of Review Atmospheric circulation exerts a strong control on regional climate and extremes. However, projections of future circulation change remain uncertain, thus affecting the assessment of regional climate change. The purpose of this review is to describe some key cases where regional precipitation and windiness strongly depend on the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation response to warming, and summarise this into alternative plausible storylines of regional climate change. Recent Findings Recent research has enabled to better quantify the importance of dynamical aspects of climate change in shaping regional climate. The cold season precipitation response in Mediterranean-like regions is identified as one of the most susceptible impact-relevant aspects of regional climate driven by mid-latitude circulation changes. A circulation-forced drying might already be emerging in the actual Mediterranean, Chile and southwestern Australia. Increasing evidence indicates that distinct regional changes in atmospheric circulation and European windiness might unfold depending on the interplay of different climate drivers, such as surface warming patterns, sea ice loss and stratospheric changes. Summary The multi-model mean circulation response to warming tends to show washed-out signals due to the lack of robustness in the model projections, with implications for regional changes. To better communicate the information contained within these projections, it is useful to discuss regional climate change conditionally on alternative plausible storylines of atmospheric circulation change. As progress continues in understanding the factors driving the response of circulation to global warming, developing such storylines will provide end–to–end and physically self-consistent descriptions of plausible future unfoldings of regional climate change.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:86475


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