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Geophys Res Lett. 2018 Jun 28;45(12):6311-6320. doi: 10.1029/2018GL077837.

Dependence of Present and Future European Temperature Extremes on the Location of Atmospheric Blocking.

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Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change University of Graz Graz Austria.
FWF-DK Climate Change University of Graz Graz Austria.
Now at Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich Zurich Switzerland.
Center for International Climate Research (CICERO) Oslo Norway.
Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment and Climate Change Canada University of Victoria Victoria British Columbia Canada.
Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Meteorology, Institute of Physics University of Graz Graz Austria.


The impact of atmospheric blocking on European heat waves (HWs) and cold spells (CSs) is investigated for present and future conditions . A 50-member ensemble of the second generation Canadian Earth System Model is used to quantify the role of internal variability in the response to blocking. We find that the present blocking-extreme temperature link is well represented compared to ERA-Interim, despite a significant underestimation of blocking frequency in most ensemble members. Our results show a strong correlation of blocking with northern European HWs in summer, spring, and fall. However, we also find a strong anticorrelation between blocking and HW occurrence in southern Europe in all seasons. Blocking increases the CS frequency particularly in southern Europe in fall, winter, and spring but reduces it in summer. For the future we find that blocking will continue to play an important role in the development of both CSs and HWs in all seasons.


Europe; atmospheric blocking; climate model; cold spells; heat waves; large ensemble

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