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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 23, 375-390, 2016
http://www.nonlin-processes-geophys.net/23/375/2016/
doi:10.5194/npg-23-375-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Nov 2016
Compound extremes in a changing climate – a Markov chain approach
Katrin Sedlmeier1,a, Sebastian Mieruch1,b, Gerd Schädler1, and Christoph Kottmeier1 1Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
anow at: Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland
bnow at: Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
Abstract. Studies using climate models and observed trends indicate that extreme weather has changed and may continue to change in the future. The potential impact of extreme events such as heat waves or droughts depends not only on their number of occurrences but also on "how these extremes occur", i.e., the interplay and succession of the events. These quantities are quite unexplored, for past changes as well as for future changes and call for sophisticated methods of analysis. To address this issue, we use Markov chains for the analysis of the dynamics and succession of multivariate or compound extreme events. We apply the method to observational data (1951–2010) and an ensemble of regional climate simulations for central Europe (1971–2000, 2021–2050) for two types of compound extremes, heavy precipitation and cold in winter and hot and dry days in summer. We identify three regions in Europe, which turned out to be likely susceptible to a future change in the succession of heavy precipitation and cold in winter, including a region in southwestern France, northern Germany and in Russia around Moscow. A change in the succession of hot and dry days in summer can be expected for regions in Spain and Bulgaria. The susceptibility to a dynamic change of hot and dry extremes in the Russian region will probably decrease.

Citation: Sedlmeier, K., Mieruch, S., Schädler, G., and Kottmeier, C.: Compound extremes in a changing climate – a Markov chain approach, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 23, 375-390, doi:10.5194/npg-23-375-2016, 2016.
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Short summary
Compound extreme events (e.g., simultaneous occurrence of hot and dry days) are likely to have a big impact on society. In our paper, we propose a new method to analyze the temporal succession of compound extreme events, an aspect that has been largely neglected so far. We analyze past and future changes and identify regions within Europe, which are probably susceptible to a future change in the succession of heavy precipitation and cold days in winter and hot and dry days in summer.
Compound extreme events (e.g., simultaneous occurrence of hot and dry days) are likely to have a...
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