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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 943487, 14 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/943487
Research Article

Climate Change Scenarios of Precipitation Extremes in the Carpathian Region Based on an Ensemble of Regional Climate Models

1Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Boční II/1401, 14131 Prague 4, Czech Republic
2Department of Land and Water Resources Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 11, 81368 Bratislava, Slovakia
3Global Change Research Centre, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Bělidla 986/4a, 60300 Brno, Czech Republic

Received 24 April 2014; Revised 4 July 2014; Accepted 5 July 2014; Published 16 September 2014

Academic Editor: Yijun He

Copyright © 2014 Ladislav Gaál et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The study examines projected changes in precipitation extremes, aggregated on several time scales (1 hour, 1 day, and 5 days), in simulations of 12 regional climate models (RCMs) with high spatial resolution (~25 km). The study area is the Carpathian Basin (Central and Southeastern Europe) which has a complex topography and encompasses the whole territory of Slovakia and Hungary as well as major parts of Romania and western Ukraine. We focus on changes in mean seasonal maxima and high quantiles (50-year return values) projected for the late 21st century (time slice 2070–2099) in comparison to the control period (time slice 1961–1990), for summer and winter. The 50-year return values are estimated by means of a regional frequency analysis based on the region-of-influence method, which reduces random variability and leads to more reliable estimates of high quantiles. In winter, all examined characteristics of precipitation (seasonal totals, mean seasonal maxima, and 50-year return values for both short-term and multi-day aggregations) show similar patterns of projected increases for the late 21st century. In summer, by contrast, drying is projected for seasonal totals in all RCMs while increases clearly prevail for the 50-year return values. The projected increases are larger for short-term (hourly) extremes that are more directly related to convective activity than multiday extremes. This suggests that the probability of occurrence of flash floods may increase more than that of large-scale floods in a warmer climate. The within-ensemble variability (and associated uncertainty) is, nevertheless, much larger in summer than in winter.