Extratropical cyclone statistics during the last millennium and the 21st century

Raible, Christoph C.; Messmer, Martina; Lehner, Flavio; Stocker, Thomas F.; Blender, Richard (2018). Extratropical cyclone statistics during the last millennium and the 21st century. Climate of the past, 14(10), pp. 1499-1514. Copernicus Publications 10.5194/cp-14-1499-2018

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Extratropical cyclones in winter and their characteristics are investigated in depth for the Atlantic European region, as they are responsible for a significant part of the rainfall and extreme wind and/or precipitation-induced hazards. The analysis is based on a seamless transient simulationwith a state-of-the-art fully coupled Earth system model from 850 to 2100 CE. The Representative Concentration Pathway8.5 (RCP8.5) scenario is used in the 21st century. During the Common Era, cyclone characteristics show pronounced variations on interannual and decadal timescales, but no external forcing imprint is found prior to 1850. Thus, variations of extratropical cyclone characteristics are mainly caused by internal variability of the coupled climate system. When anthropogenic forcing becomes dominant in the 20th century, a decrease of the cyclone occurrences mainly over the Mediterranean and a strong increase of extreme cyclone-related precipitation become detectable. The latter is due to thermodynamics as it follows the Clausius–Clapeyron relation. An important finding, though, is that the relation between temperature and extreme cyclone-related precipitation is not alway scontrolled by the Clausius–Clapeyron relation, which suggests that dynamical processes can play an important role in generating extreme cyclone-related precipitation – for example, in the absence of anomalously warm background conditions. Thus, the importance of dynamical processes, evenon decadal timescales, might explain the conundrum that proxy records suggest enhanced occurrence of precipitation extremes during rather cold periods in the past.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Raible, Christoph, Messmer, Martina Barbara, Stocker, Thomas


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Copernicus Publications




Christoph Raible

Date Deposited:

19 Sep 2019 09:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:28

Publisher DOI:






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