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North Atlantic Oscillation Impact on European Hydroclimatic Variability in the 20th and 21st Centuries

PI: Jeffrey C. Rogers
Institution: Ohio State University
Additional Investigators: Maurice McHugh
The goal of this study is to evaluate the impact of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on the variability and receipt of precipitation over Europe. We propose to investigate the 20th Century representation of the NAO in the control run relative to observations, and during the 21st Century where model output for several scenarios will be contrasted with the control run. From the 1970s until recently the NAO trend has been upward and this has been accompanied by an intensified mean Icelandic Low that is displaced unusually farther northeast during the cold season in years with strong Atlantic westerlies. Little evidence of change appears to occur in negative phase years. The resulting NAO 20th century modes might be characterized by normal positive and negative phases and a more recent hyper-positive phase with centers displaced closer to Europe and possibly forced by the Indian Ocean. Evaluations of these characteristics in the control run will be made and the potential role of NAO phase and intensity changes in the future will be evaluated in light of the hydroclimate of Europe. Precipitation receipt, and associated data (e.g. cloudiness, precipitable water, u- and v-wind components, runoff, and soil moisture) will be evaluated in similar manner. The changing frequency of extreme precipitation events will also be investigated on monthly and seasonal-mean timescales, including evaluation of changes in intensity and frequency of drought. The role of potential precipitation changes in the 21st century on stream flow in alpine regions, especially southern Europe which is particularly affected by wet negative-phase conditions, will be evaluated.

1) 20th Century simulation to year 2000, then fix all concentrations at
year 2000 values and run to 2100.
2) 21st Century simulation with SRES A1B to 2100, then fix all
concentrations at year 2100 values to 2200.
3) 21st Century simulation with SRES B1 to 2100, then fix all
concentrations at year 2100 values to 2200.
4) 21st Century simulation with SRES A2 to 2100.
5). 1% CO2 run to quadrupling with an additional 150 years with CO2
fixed at 4x.

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    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory  |  Physical & Life Sciences Directorate