Twelve centuries of European summer droughts – problems with climate models, says study

Posted: August 9, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, modelling, Natural Variation, research, Temperature

In which we learn that ‘recent changes in drought patterns are not unprecedented as yet’. Climate models seem to be exaggerating the drought risks, according to this research.

An international team of researchers have published a study exploring the association between summer temperature and drought across Europe placing recent drought in the context of the past 12 centuries, reports EurekAlert.

The study reveals that, throughout history, northern Europe has tended to get wetter and southern Europe to get drier during warmer periods.

They also observe that recent changes in drought patterns are not unprecedented as yet and emphasise that continuing to improve understanding of the relationship between summer heat and drought is critical to projecting flood and drought risks.

The new study, published in Environmental Research Letters, explores the relationship between summer temperature and drought using weather measurements going back to the 18th century and tree-ring reconstructions of temperature and drought going back to the 9th century.

The team then compared the picture of past temperature and drought, revealed by the tree-ring records, to simulations from the same climate models that are used to predict future climate.

This comparison revealed that the climate model simulations show a too strong relationship between warm and dry summers, and do not capture that a large part of Europe has received more precipitation, not less, when it has been warm in the past 12 centuries.

Project leader Dr. Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, Associate Professor at Stockholm University, said these new findings are important as we are able to see for the first time that the relationship between summer temperature and drought in modern weather measurements has persisted for at least 12 centuries. “We can also see that wetting trend in northern Europe, and drying trend in southern Europe, during the 20th century is not unprecedented over this time perspective,” he said.

Full article here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    See also the first link under ‘Related’ – above.

  2. craigm350 says:

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Not unprecedented? Blaspheme! 🤭

    [reply] ‘as yet’ 😎

  3. JB says:

    Us old Van Winkles know this. So what HAS changed?

  4. oldbrew says:

    Here’s the open access study – enjoy…

    European warm-season temperature and hydroclimate since 850 CE

    Quote: Our analysis of the temperature–hydroclimate relationship in instrumental data and tree-ring based reconstructions, compared to the same relationship in model simulations, shows that climate models either overestimate the role of warm-season temperature on soil moisture, or underestimate the influence of precipitation, or a combination of both.

  5. Phoenix44 says:

    Climate models don’t accurately model climate, study finds.

    World ignores inconvenient truth.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Climate models being inaccurate is not surprising, but spending vast sums on the basis of their known and unknown inaccuracies is.