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Open AccessArticle

Past and Projected Weather Pattern Persistence with Associated Multi-Hazards in the British Isles

1
Geography and Environment, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
2
Climatic Research Unit (CRU), School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
3
Meteorological Institute and Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), University of Hamburg, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
4
School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(10), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10100577
Received: 27 August 2019 / Revised: 21 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Atmosphere: Climatology and Meteorology)
Hazards such as heatwaves, droughts and floods are often associated with persistent weather patterns. Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) are important tools for evaluating projected changes in extreme weather. Here, we demonstrate that 2-day weather pattern persistence, derived from the Lamb Weather Types (LWTs) objective scheme, is a useful concept for both investigating climate risks from multi-hazard events as well as for assessing AOGCM realism. This study evaluates the ability of a Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) multi-model sub-ensemble of 10 AOGCMs at reproducing seasonal LWTs persistence and frequencies over the British Isles (BI). Changes in persistence are investigated under two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP8.5 and RCP4.5) up to 2100. The ensemble broadly replicates historical LWTs persistence observed in reanalyses (1971–2000). Future persistence and frequency of summer anticyclonic LWT are found to increase, implying heightened risk of drought and heatwaves. On the other hand, the cyclonic LWT decreases in autumn suggesting reduced likelihood of flooding and severe gales. During winter, AOGCMs point to increased risk of concurrent fluvial flooding-wind hazards by 2100, however, they also tend to over-estimate such risks when compared to reanalyses. In summer, the strength of the nocturnal Urban Heat Island (UHI) of London could intensify, enhancing the likelihood of combined heatwave-poor air quality events. Further research is needed to explore other multi-hazards in relation to changing weather pattern persistence and how best to communicate such threats to vulnerable communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: weather patterns; LWTs; persistence; multi-hazards; urban heat island; CMIP5; RCPs weather patterns; LWTs; persistence; multi-hazards; urban heat island; CMIP5; RCPs
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De Luca, P.; Harpham, C.; Wilby, R.L.; Hillier, J.K.; Franzke, C.L.E.; Leckebusch, G.C. Past and Projected Weather Pattern Persistence with Associated Multi-Hazards in the British Isles. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 577.

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