Future changes in extreme precipitation in the Rhine basin based on global and regional climate model simulations
Abstract. Probability estimates of the future change of extreme precipitation events are usually based on a limited number of available global climate model (GCM) or regional climate model (RCM) simulations. Since floods are related to heavy precipitation events, this restricts the assessment of flood risks. In this study a relatively simple method has been developed to get a better description of the range of changes in extreme precipitation events. Five bias-corrected RCM simulations of the 1961–2100 climate for a single greenhouse gas emission scenario (A1B SRES) were available for the Rhine basin. To increase the size of this five-member RCM ensemble, 13 additional GCM simulations were analysed. The climate responses of the GCMs are used to modify an observed (1961–1995) precipitation time series with an advanced delta change approach. Changes in the temporal means and variability are taken into account. It is found that the range of future change of extreme precipitation across the five-member RCM ensemble is similar to results from the 13-member GCM ensemble. For the RCM ensemble, the time series modification procedure also results in a similar climate response compared to the signal deduced from the direct model simulations. The changes from the individual RCM simulations, however, systematically differ from those of the driving GCMs, especially for long return periods.