Future Changes in Euro-Mediterranean Daytime Severe Thunderstorm Environments Based on an RCP8.5 Med-CORDEX Simulation

Kahraman A., Ural D., Önol B.

ATMOSPHERE, vol.11, no.8, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/atmos11080822
  • Journal Name: ATMOSPHERE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, CAB Abstracts, Compendex, Geobase, INSPEC, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: climate change, severe weather, thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, Med-CORDEX, convective storms, CLIMATOLOGY, TORNADO, STORM, HAIL
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Convective scale processes and, therefore, thunderstorm-related hazards cannot be simulated using regional climate models with horizontal grid spacing in the order of 10 km. However, larger-scale environmental conditions of these local high-impact phenomena can be diagnosed to assess their frequency in current and future climates. In this study, we present a daytime climatology of severe thunderstorm environments and its evolution for a wide Euro-Mediterranean domain through the 21st century, using regional climate model simulations forced by Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario. Currently, severe convective weather is more frequently favored around Central Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. Our results suggest that with a steady progress until the end of the century, Mediterranean coasts are projected to experience a significantly higher frequency of severe thunderstorm environments, while a slight decrease over parts of continental Europe is evaluated. The increase across the Mediterranean is mostly owed to the warming sea surface, which strengthens thermodynamic conditions in the wintertime, while local factors arguably keep the shear frequency relatively higher than the entire region. On the other hand, future northward extension of the subtropical belt over Europe in the warm season reduces the number of days with severe thunderstorm environments.