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Statistical downscaling for climate change projections in the Mediterranean region: methods and results

June 3, 2014

Besides dynamical downscaling by regional climate models, statistical downscaling (SD) is a major tool to derive climate change projections on regional or even local scales. For the Mediterranean area, an increasing number of downscaling studies based on different statistical techniques have been published in the last two decades with a broad range of sometimes differing results relating to different variables and regional domains. This paper gives a short review of these  Mediterranean downscaling studies mainly considering the following two aspects: (1) what kind of progress has been realized in this field since the early 1990s? The review addresses the inclusion of extremes in downscaling assessments, the development of probabilistic approaches, the extension of predictor sets, the use of ensembles for both dynamical model simulations and statistical model assessments, the consideration of non-stationarities in the predictor–predictand relationships, and some advances related to synoptic downscaling. (2) What are the main regional climate change signals in the Mediterranean area, considering agreed and controversial points also with respect to dynamical models? Best accordance among future projections can be found in seasonal temperatures with lower rates of warming in winter and spring, and, in most cases, higher ones in summer and autumn. Different results are obtained for the intra-annual range of extreme temperatures, but high-temperature conditions are generally expected to increase. Regarding seasonal precipitation, predominant reductions are indicated for spring, summer, and autumn. For winter, however, projections are distinctly different (GCMs: rainfall decrease; RCMs: increase only in the northernmost parts of the Mediterranean region; SD: widespread increases in the northern and western parts in several studies). Different results are obtained for rainfall extremes, but the entire precipitation distribution tends to shift towards higher and lower values. Apart from some sub-regional deviations, there is a predominant increase in future dry period durations. For near-surface winds, only a few studies are available, and they project some decline mainly for the winter season.

Jacobeit J, Hertig E, Seubert S, Lutz K, in press: Statistical downscaling for climate change projections in the Mediterranean region: methods and results, Regional Environmental Change, doi:10.1007/s10113-014-0605-0. Article (subscription required).

 

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