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Future Storms

Future Storms

Quantifying uncertainties and identifying drivers of future changes in extreme weather from convection-permitting model ensembles.

Project leader

Prof Hayley Fowler

Project staff

NERC

Partners

UK Met Office

ETH Zurich

GEWEX

EA

SEPA

UK Climate Impacts Programme

UKWIR

Forest Research

Description

Climate models project a general intensification of extreme precipitation during the 21st century on continental to global scales. However, there are large uncertainties in regional patterns of change. This uncertainty hampers the development of efficient adaptation strategies for flooding which presents a formidable challenge to public safety, life and the economy.

Short-duration (sub-daily) rainfall extremes are particularly hazardous. They are responsible for fatalities as they lead to flash floods that occur with little warning. Other storm-related extremes such as wind, hail, and lightning provide risks to safety and damage to infrastructure systems.

Future Storms will use an ensemble of very high resolution convection-permitting climate models (CPMs). These models will quantify, for the first time, the influence of large-scale dynamics, thermodynamical moist processes and local-scale (storm) dynamics in projections of precipitation extremes (and their uncertainties) and other storm-related extreme weather (hail, lightning and windstorms) in Europe.

This will lead to:

  • improved projections of extreme weather associated with future storms
  • the development of new tools for European climate adaptation

The key questions the project will address are:

  • Can convection-permitting models give us more robust projections of future precipitation extremes?
  • Do convection-permitting models improve our understanding of how storm-related weather, such as hail, lightning and windstorms, might change?
  • Are local-scale (storm) dynamics, and their interaction with large-scale dynamics, important for understanding changes to precipitation extremes?
  • Can projections from convection-permitting models be translated into useful information for use in climate adaptation planning?

Outputs from the project will include standard synthetic hourly (and sub-hourly) weather time series in industry-appropriate formats for a number of major towns and cities around the UK using a new rainfall modelling tool (similar to the rainfall component of the UKCP09 weather generator).

These will be made available for use in climate adaptation studies.