PRUDENCE employs new methods to assess European climate change

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Abstract

Both decision-makers and the general public need detailed information on future climate to evaluate the risks associated with possible climate change due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. Projections of future climate change already exist, but they are deficient, in terms of both the characterization of their uncertainties and their regional detail. To date, the assessment of potential impacts of climate change has generally relied on projections from simple climate models or coarse resolution coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs). The former include, at best, only a limited physical representation of the climate system. The latter are unable to resolve processes occurring at scales of less than ∼300 km. This resolution limitation precludes the simulation of realistic extreme events and the detailed spatial structure of variables like temperature and precipitation over regions characterized by heterogeneous surfaces. Typical examples of such regions are mountainous areas such as the Alps or Scandinavia or coastal zones, and areas surrounding inland seas, such as the Mediterranean and Baltic.

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