Regional modeling sensitivity experiments for interpreting the UK Winter 2013-2014 extreme rain

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Hiba Omrani1, Robert Vautard1, Nathalie Schaller2 and Myles Robert Allen3, (1)LSCE Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Gif-Sur-Yvette Cedex, France, (2)University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, (3)University of Oxford, Physics, Oxford, United Kingdom
During the winter 2013/2014, the UK saw heavy rainfalls associated with a succession of storms reaching Southern England causing widespread flooding, power cuts and major disruptions to transport. The January precipitation set a record for several rain gauge stations in Southern England. The aim of this study is to evaluate the contribution of the anthropogenic climate change, represented by a modification of the sea surface temperature (SST) on the January precipitation. For that, we conducted a sensitivity experiment by running a set of 108 four-months simulations using WRF model with 9 different physics and 12 different SST fields; 9 for the factual world and 99 for the counter-factual world. A spectral nudging technique was used here to ensure a same atmospheric circulation patterns for all the simulations. Therefore, only the thermodynamic effect is considered here. The analysis is focused on January precipitation over the southern England. Results show for 0,5°C SST difference over the Northern Atlantic, the precipitation in the factual simulations is between 0,4 and 8% higher than the precipitation in the counter-factual simulations depending on the physic. A validation test shows that this value is closer to 8% for the “best physic” simulation. It also show a strong spatial variability where in some region the precipitation is higher in the counter-factual world compared the factual world. Finally, a backward trajectories were calculated to evaluate the sensitivity of the moisture sources and air mass trajectories to the SST in the factual and the counter-factual world.