Extreme precipitation and climate change: novel insights by case-selective convection-permitting model downscaling

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Modelling and simulation
    • Computational physics
    • Atmospheric physics
    • Climatology
    • Meteorology
Extreme precipitation Climate attribution Climate modeling
Project description

When weather extremes occur, the question of the extent to which climate change played a role is quickly asked. For precipitation extremes, as in the case of the recent floodings in Wallonia and Western Germany, it is particularly difficult to answer that question. Due to its high computational cost there are indeed few climate model experiments at the fine spatial resolution needed to accurately resolve the physics of deep convection crucial for precipitation extremes. This FWO fellowship proposes a new approach to address this gap: instead of the traditional climate model simulations running for very long periods (e.g. until 2100), the high resolution model runs would only be undertaken for short periods that contain extreme precipitation events. The ability of this methodology to correctly reproduce the statistical properties of extreme precipitation will be investigated. Next, some of these cases will be used to perform so-called pseudo-warming experiments where the same extreme weather event is simulated for different climates, e.g. +2 degree global warming. An innovative way of tracking individual air parcels in the model simulations will then be used to gain new insights into the processes involved in deep convection. This will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between extreme precipitation and climate change.