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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-31
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2020-31
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Evaluating the dependence structure of compound precipitation and wind speed extremes

Jakob Zscheischler1,2, Philippe Naveau3, Olivia Martius1,4,5, Sebastian Engelke6, and Christoph C. Raible1,2 Jakob Zscheischler et al.
  • 1Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Climate and Environmental Physics, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 5Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • 6Research Center for Statistics, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Abstract. Estimating the likelihood of compound climate extremes such as concurrent drought and heatwaves or compound precipitation and wind speed extremes is important for assessing climate risks. Typically, simulations from climate models are used to assess future risks, but it is largely unknown how well the current generation of models represents compound extremes. Here, we introduce a new metric that measures whether the tails of bivariate distributions show a similar dependence structure across different datasets. We analyse compound precipitation and wind extremes in reanalysis data and different high-resolution simulations for central Europe. A state-of-the-art reanalysis dataset (ERA5) is compared to simulations with a weather model (WRF) either driven by observation-based boundary conditions or a global circulation model (CESM) under present-day and future conditions with strong greenhouse gas forcing (RCP8.5). Over the historical period, the high-resolution WRF simulations capture precipitation and wind extremes and there response to orographic effects more realistically than ERA5. Thus, WRF simulations driven by observation-based boundary conditions are used as a benchmark for evaluating the dependence structure of wind and precipitation extremes. Overall, boundary conditions in WRF appear to be the key factor in explaining differences in the dependence behaviour between strong wind and heavy rainfall between simulations. In comparison, external forcings (RCP8.5) are of second order. Our approach offers new methodological tools to evaluate climate model simulations with respect to compound extremes.

Jakob Zscheischler et al.

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Jakob Zscheischler et al.

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Latest update: 08 Jul 2020
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Short summary
Compound extremes such as heavy precipitation and extremes winds can lead to large damages. To date it is unclear how well climate models represent such compound extremes. Here we present a new measure to assess differences in the dependence structure of bivariate extremes. This measure is applied to assess differences in the dependence of compound precipitation and wind extremes between three model simulations and one reanalysis dataset in a domain in Central Europe.
Compound extremes such as heavy precipitation and extremes winds can lead to large damages. To...
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